Iconic superstars Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic advanced to the second round of Wimbledon after their injury-hit opponents retired hurt from their first round matches on Tuesday.
Federer is chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title and hewas already well on top at the start of his 19th All EnglandClub campaign when Alexandr Dolgopolov was forced to quit withan ankle injury.
The world number three raced into a 6-3, 3-0 in 43minutes on Centre Court before the Ukrainian limped off. Federer, who hit his 10,000th career ace in the eighthgame of the first set, will face either Dusan Lajovic ofSerbia or Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place inthe last 32.
"It feels great to be back on Centre Court," said Federer, who recorded his 85th match win at Wimbledon, passingthe mark he shared with Jimmy Connors. Having unexpectedly won the Australian Open in January before taking the clay-court season off to rest, Federer, making a record-equalling 70th Grand Slam appearance, is thefavourite to take the Wimbledon crown for the first time since2012.
"Everybody's got a chance to win Wimbledon and for meit's no different. I already achieved my dream to be back herehealthy. Now we'll see how far I can go," Federer said. Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon champion, was leading 6-3, 2-0 when Slovakian world number 47 Martin Klizan retiredafter just 40 minutes on Centre Court due to a calf problem. The 30-year-old Serb will face Adam Pavlasek of the CzechRepublic for a place in the last 32.
It was the kind of trouble-free first round Djokovicwould have been hoping for after the most turbulent period ofhis career, the 12-time major winner losing in the AustralianOpen second round and the French Open quarter-finals. "He had issues walking on to court. I tried to focus onmy game plan, I was serving well and when it mattered I made abreak," said Djokovic, who is aiming to win a first Grand Slamtitle since last year's French Open.
"It was great to be back on Centre Court. It's the cradleof tennis history, but you never like to end a match thisway." With defending champion Serena Williams sidelined whileshe prepares to give birth to her first child, the race to winthe women's title is the most wide open in a generation. World number one Angelique Kerber, the 2016 Australianand US Open winner, is among the favourites after reaching last year's final, which she lost to Serena.
The German has failed to maintain that form this seasonand her poor run culminated in an embarrassing French Openfirst round loss to Ekaterina Makarova last month. But the top seed showed glimpses of her best form as shesaw off American qualifier Irina Falconi 6-4, 6-4 in 87 minutes on Centre Court.
"I'm happy to be back, but this year is completelydifferent for me. I'm just happy I'm through the first round,"Kerber said. Milos Raonic advanced to the second round with a 7-6(7/5), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) win against Jan-Lennard Struff. Big-serving Raonic became the first Canadian man to makea Grand Slam final with his impressive Wimbledon run 12 monthsago before losing the title match to Andy Murray.
Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro, a semi-finalist in2013, defeated Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7/2), 6-4 as the 29th seed moved towards a potential thirdround classic against Djokovic. Australia's Bernard Tomic said he had lost his "respect"for tennis following his lacklustre 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 loss toMischa Zverev. "I don't know why but I felt a little bit bored outthere, to be completely honest," Tomic said. French 22nd seed Richard Gasquet slumped to a 6-3, 6-4,5-7, 6-2 loss against Spain's David Ferrer.
In the women's draw, Karolina Pliskova underlined why sheis the bookmakers' favourite to win Wimbledon as the worldnumber three crushed Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 6-4.
The 25-year-old Czech emerged as a potential star whenshe reached the US Open final last year and she has followedup on that breakthrough by making the French Open semi-finals last month.
Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, the 14thseed, defeated Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4. Australian qualifier Arina Rodionova, ranked 166th, saved seven match points before defeating Russian 16th seedAnastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 9-7.