Ireland's Niland crumbles with Federer in sight

Well, there are limits. They have already shown the English how to play cricket this year, after all. Yesterday, as though in atonement, an Irishman came to Wimbledon and produced a performance straight out of the English manual of plucky failure.

The pity of it was that Conor Niland – a qualifier with superior claims to many of the British favoured with a wild card – had seemed to show all the fortitude and ambition that elude so many home players when they come here. In a marathon slugfest with Adrian Mannarino, the first Irishman to play here in 31 years stood on the brink of a second-round tie with none other than Roger Federer. Having broken the Frenchman's serve for a second time in the fifth set, his destiny was in his own hands at 4-1. But he promptly contrived to lose five consecutive games. From looking forward to the biggest match of his career, he was suddenly looking back at the biggest match of his career – and a scoreline of 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.

Making his Grand Slam debut at 29, however, he had certainly done himself proud over the past four hours. Certainly there will be no better atmosphere here this week than was generated by his compatriots squeezed around Court 17. Half of Co Limerick appeared to be there, and every ebb and flow in his fortunes was raucously amplified. His opponent, a rather soulful Frenchman, obligingly played the villain, arguing with the umpire and remorselessly spraying groundstrokes to the corners. How they roared, then, whenever their man rose to a crisis – never more so, perhaps, when he gave himself two set points in the third by flinging himself full length to stun one dead over the net. But Mannarino salvaged the game, won the tie-break, and showed terrific spirit to withstand the unsparingly partisan uproar that greeted his every error. Even his finest flourishes barely drew even the most perfunctory applause.

Federer, meanwhile, will note that Mannarino mustered just four aces over the afternoon. Overall there has so far been precious little sign of any man rocking the boat, and Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro all briskly dismissed their first opponents in straight sets.

Djokovic continues in the form of his life, making ruthlessly short work of Jérémy Chardy, requiring just 80 minutes to win 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. "It's great to be back on Centre Court, the most famous in the world," the Serbian said. "It's my first grass-court match of the season and I'm extremely happy with how I played. Roger and Rafa have been so successful on grass, and they deserve to be favourites here, but I'm one of the players waiting behind for his chance."

Roddick set the tone by smashing four consecutive aces in the very first game before seeing off Andreas Beck, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3. Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, was meanwhile able to break Flavio Cipolla's serve three times in a slick 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 success. The No 15 seed, Gilles Simon, had a tougher passage against his French compatriot, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London