Federer overcomes scare, Barty and Kerber cruise into second round

LONDON (AFP) – Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer overcame a first set scare to reach the second round on Tuesday night beating South African debutant Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

Federer took time to get going and was helped by his opponent suffering a calf problem midway through the match.

“I struggled early on, my legs were frozen and the ball was not going where I wanted it to,” said Federer.

“He was hitting big and things were going quickly. I was nervous for a set and a half.

“So it took a good effort from me. Lloyd played a good match.”

Two-time French Open champion Dominic Thiem’s lack of ease on grass being exposed by veteran American serve and volleyer Sam Querrey.

Querrey, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2017, prevailed 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 6-0.

“There’s still things which are not easy,” said Thiem.

Roger Federer hits a return to Lloyd Harris. – AP

“I mean, last year and this year together I played four grass court matches, which is not a lot at all.

“All the clay court season it takes a lot out of me,” added the 25-year-old Austrian.

Women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Angelique Kerber avoided the fate of second seed Naomi Osaka and came through their first round clashes safely.

Barty beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-2 while Kerber, the fourth seed, beat fellow German Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3.

While Barty did not have it all her own way in the first set being pegged back to 4-4 after leading 3-0 she had little trouble after winning the first set.

“The first round is always very tough and it took a little time to get used to the court,” said Barty.

“It definitely took some time to adjust.”

Barty, who is bidding to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season, drew on the film The Lion King to describe how she felt leading into the match.

“Kind of came into it thinking kind of like hakuna matata (Swahili for no trouble and a title of a song in the film), just relax and go for it,” said the 23-year-old.

Barty plays tricky Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, who knocked out then defending champion Garbine Muguruza last year in the second round, for a place in the last 32.

“It will be an exceptional challenge and it will be important for me to be strong on my serve,” she said.

Barty may have not been nervous but Kerber, who came into the tournament on the back of being the beaten finalist at Eastbourne last Saturday, confessed to being so before she walked out onto Centre Court.

Her game appeared to reflect that as she lost her serve on several occasions but in the end won comfortably enough.

“This is the tournament of the year where you really would like to play your best tennis,” said Kerber.

“I think it was a little bit different, but the nerves and everything are the same.

“Doesn’t matter which Centre Court you are coming back as the defending champion.”

Meanwhile, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, left the plush confines of the Royal Box at Wimbledon to watch a British wildcard competing on the lowly outside courts.