Roger Federer progresses in straight sets
Six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer avoided another first-round scare as he cruised to a straight-sets victory over Mikhail Kukushkin from Kazakhstan.
Federer had to fight back from two sets down against Alejandro Falla at the same stage last year but he rarely looked troubled today as he completed a 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 6-2 victory.
The Swiss third seed is bidding to equal William Renshaw and Pete Sampras' shared record of seven Wimbledon titles while Kukushkin was a grass-court rookie.
The world number 61 had only played three previous ATP tour matches on the surface before today. He made a decent fist of his challenge but the gulf in class and experience eventually told.
Federer conceded just two points on his own serve as the first set flashed by but Kukushkin, to his credit, was unfazed and took it into a tie-break.
Once Federer had moved into the lead there was no stopping him though, and he wrapped up victory with a supreme mixture of serve-volley tennis and unstoppable groundstrokes.
Such was the control Federer exerted behind his own serve that Kukushkin never really had a chance in the first set tie-break.
Federer sniffed his first chance to seize control for a 3-2 lead in the second set and he took it, playing a devilishly sliced backhand which forced Kukushkin to net from the baseline.
Kukushkin responded positively and succeeded in putting Federer's serve under pressure for the first time in the match, earning two break back points.
He could do nothing with the first as Federer fired down a heavy serve but then wasted the second, driving his forehand long when the point was there for the taking.
That was effectively that. Federer wrapped up the second set with some divine serve-and-volley tennis and then accelerated away in the third set.
He broke Kukushkin early to move 3-1 up after adjusting well to a ball which clipped the net and flicking home a forehand winner.
Federer was toying with Kukushkin and he moved two breaks clear with a thunderous forehand and then a deft drop-shot.
Kukushkin held for a second game but he was only delaying the inevitable as Federer served out to complete his triumph.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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