Belfast Telegraph

Wimbledon: Federer targets Sampras’ super seven

BY ROBERT JONES

Roger Federer set his sights on equalling Pete Sampras' modern-day record of seven Wimbledon titles after completing a comfortable first-round victory over grass-court rookie Mikhail Kukushkin.

The Swiss third seed lost only two points from his own serve in the first set and then accelerated to a 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 6-2 victory over Kukushkin.

Federer will face Adrian Mannarino in the next round after the Frenchman eventually saw off Ireland's Conor Niland in five tough sets.

“Tying Pete in any stats means you're right up there with maybe the greatest, one of the greatest players of all times, and that's always a nice thing,” said Federer.

“Winning Wimbledon alone without any records is amazing.

“I have just won my first match — there are six more to go. It was a good performance. I'm serving well, moving well. It's nice to win in straight sets.”

Federer felt under less pressure at the French Open, where he reached the final, because Rafael Nadal was defending champion and Novak Djokovic arrived in Paris on a remarkable unbeaten streak.

“I can play with a bit less pressure here — but at the same time I want to do so well at Wimbledon because I've won the tournament six times,” he added.

“It feels like if things go well for me, I can go extremely far here.

“At the French Open I feel it's a bit more on other opponents' racquets — but here I feel it's a bit more on mine.

“That's why I'll always play with some pressure at Wimbledon just because of the occasion and what it means to me really.”

Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic barely broke sweat as he followed the rest of the ‘Big Four' into the second round with a 6-4 6-1 6-1 win over Jeremy Chardy in an hour and 20 minutes.

The form player of 2011 rarely looked in any danger, though, riding out an early barrage of serves from the world number 52 and, as the match progressed, any point that went beyond the first two shots generally went in Djokovic's favour.

Andy Roddick began another bid for Wimbledon glory with a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory over qualifier Andreas Beck on Court One, but Britain’s Jamie Ward bowed out 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 to France's 19th seed Michael Llodra.

Meanwhile, instead of 11 hours and 70-68 in the fifth set, it took John Isner only three minutes over two hours to defeat Nicolas Mahut in their eagerly-anticipated rematch at Wimbledon.

After last year's record-breaking three-day epic, it seemed inevitable that the first-round repeat would fail to live up to the hype, and so it proved.

Isner, who won 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 7-6 (8/6) to book a second-round date with 16th seed Nicolas Almagro, said: “It wasn't easy but obviously it was considerably quicker than last time. I was happy how I played, especially in the third set.”

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