Roger Federer plays his shots right to give Brucie bonus

 

Wimbledon

As hard as he tried, Fabio Fognini could not quite dispel the idea that Wimbledon would be better served by excluding Roger Federer from the first week of competition, or at least until the seeds kick in. Sorry, competition is not the right word, not for either party. Fognini, by virtue of his mortal gifts, could not get near Federer, who was in and out of Centre Court in an hour and 14 minutes. In horse-racing terms, that is Frankel time.

As the 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 scoreline suggests, this was not a fair fight. Neither was Federer's first-round bout against Albert Ramos, which he won for the loss of just three games. This is supposed to be a champion in retreat. Seeded three, 30 years old, successive Wimbledon exits at the quarter-final stage were thought to be significant details pointing to the beginning of the end. Only two men in the open era have won this championship having passed 30, Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe, and none for 37 years.

Only an idiot would discount the possibility of a third. Perceived malfunctions on the Federer forehand have acquired an illusory quality. What were we thinking? The freak surrender of his opening two service points was as close as this match came to dynamic tension. The umpire was almost too embarrassed to call 0-30. Parity was not far away, followed by a familiar call in this precinct; game to Federer. That's better.

And it was. The point that secured the opening game was won at the net, a beautiful departure from so much of the baseline bish, bash, bosh we see in the modern game. That old serve-and-volley artiste Stefan Edberg was overcome by nostalgia in the Royal Box. Prince Charles even broke off the conversation with Mrs Bruce Forsyth to applaud.

Once into that familiar rhythm, Federer made a fly of poor Fognini, swatting him out of the first set in little more than 20 minutes. Since he worked out how to play on clay, Federer has never failed to progress to the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam tournament in 32 consecutive appearances, winning 12 titles to add to the four he had already stockpiled. Fognini is a game chap, but what chance did he have? He appeared to be playing with a two-ton racket compared to the table tennis bat Federer feathered around Centre Court.

Federer was not without sympathy for his Italian foe. "I thought he tried hard. On grass, it's tough to get into the match when you are down. I was serving well. You're not going to get many chances throughout a set against me when I'm serving like that. You have to be patient. On clay, if you play well you will get your chances. On grass, that is not automatically the case."

Out of the mouth of another that tone of testimony might easily be interpreted as bombast. Out of Federer's it was stone-cold fact, supported by 13 aces fired in at 120mph-plus and 90 per cent first-service points won. "I'm very happy," Federer said. "It was great to be back on Centre Court, and a great feeling walking out with Prince Charles and Camilla in attendance. I'm serving well, forehand, backhand, concentration, it's all going well."

There was a minor scare when Federer lost his balance and jammed his knee awkwardly into the turf. Elegance suffered momentarily and then he was back on his feet, plunder resumed. The pursuit of a seventh Wimbledon title to equal the SW19 account of Pete Sampras is one of the fortnight's principal narratives. Pity the world No 32 Julien Benneteau, who will have the pleasure of trying to halt Federer in the next round.

"The seeds might be coming my way," Federer said after putting a consoling arm around Fognini. "It will probably be more difficult but I have a day to prepare and I will be ready to go again on Friday."

On the Centre Court night shift, defending champion Novak Djokovic negotiated the spirited challenge of Ryan Harrison in straight sets. Djokovic clocked on beneath the roof shortly before eight, emerging two hours later a comfortable 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 winner.

 



Wimbledon in numbers

74 Minutes taken by Roger Federer to beat Fabio Fognini.

108 Fastest serve (in mph) recorded by Heather Watson during her victory over Jamie Hampton.

0 Unforced errors made by Aga Radwanska.

22 Slams without a title for Caroline Wozniacki after defeat.

News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
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.

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis