Novak Djokovic defeats Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets at Wimbledon

 

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The Independent Online

Novak Djokovic began the defence of his Wimbledon crown with a straightforward 6-3 6-3 6-1 victory over former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero on Centre Court this afternoon.

As last year's winner, the Serbian had the honour of opening proceedings under sunny skies, and, a little early rustiness aside, he was rarely troubled.

Djokovic relaxed as the match went on, moving better and better, and he eased through to a second-round clash with American youngster Ryan Harrison or Lu Yen-hsun.

Two weeks ago the world number one saw his hopes of a fourth consecutive grand slam title ended by Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, but he insisted he was quickly over the disappointment and he began his Wimbledon title defence by winning the first five points.

Ferrero is a former French Open winner, but he is 32 now and has struggled with injuries in recent years, while grass has never been his favourite surface.

Djokovic chose not to play a warm-up tournament, instead playing only an exhibition, and he looked a touch off his game in the third game, netting a smash and then blazing a forehand over the baseline to hand Ferrero a break point.

He saved that one and two more that followed but on the fourth chance Djokovic, who had strapping on his right elbow, slipped and Ferrero moved into a surprise lead.

It did not last long, though, the top seed breaking straight back and, when Ferrero hit a forehand long in the eighth game, Djokovic moved 5-3 ahead.

He was starting to find his range, his power and accuracy proving too much for Ferrero, and he served out the set to love, ending with an ace.

Djokovic looked far more comfortable as he dictated play and it was no surprise when he broke Ferrero again to move 2-1 ahead in the second set.

Ferrero has a decent record at Wimbledon, twice reaching the quarter-finals, most recently when he lost to Andy Murray in 2009, but he has won only five matches this season.

He had his chances to break back in the eighth game, three of them, but Djokovic's famed defence held firm and he then took his fifth set point to move to within one set of victory.

Ferrero knew he was beaten and he was in danger of being handed a love set as well when the champion moved 5-0 ahead in the third, but his opponent held serve for the first time in four attempts to at least avoid that scenario.

He then forced a break point on the Djokovic serve but the world number one swiftly snuffed out the chance and clinched victory on his second match point.

PA

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