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Wimbledon: Federer takes a step closer to a record eighth title


By John Skilbeck

Roger Federer will likely have to play better to win a record eighth Wimbledon title but the Swiss had more than enough to beat Dusan Lajovic and reach the third round.

Federer survived a close opening set on Centre Court and from there it was a routine victory for the 35-year-old, who won 7-6 (7/0) 6-3 6-2 in a brisk one hour and 30 minutes.

It is the 15th time Federer has made round three at the All England Club, where he will now face serve-and-volley specialist and world number 30 Mischa Zverev.

Zverev knocked Andy Murray out of the Australian Open in January and while Federer has not dropped a set against his next opponent in two meetings this year, the German will offer a step-up in class.

After playing just 43 minutes before Alexandr Dolgopolov retired in round one on Tuesday, the 18-time major champion will be satisfied to have saved energy again for tougher tests to come.

Federer admitted he was unusually nervy in the early stages of the match.

But he said: "I think in the third round I will feel better again. And it's weird how sometimes you can be way more nervous for a second round than, say, for a final, believe it or not.

"It's like you wake up every day the same, and I'm happy I got through this one feeling the way I did, because in a way it's strange playing this way when you're so tense.

"Yet you have nothing to lose or in a way that's what I'm telling myself, just play freely. It's not just that simple once you get out there."

Meanwhile Novak Djokovic - who beat Adam Pavlasek 6-2 6-2 6-1 on Court One yesterday - has questioned why John McEnroe made claims about his private life and likened his dip in form to the problems Tiger Woods experienced after the American golfer's infidelities were revealed.

Wimbledon great McEnroe, now an in-demand tennis commentator, said this week that Djokovic has "off-court issues with the family".

McEnroe added: "The person that comes to mind immediately with Novak is not a tennis player, it's actually a golfer: Tiger Woods.

"Woods had the issues with his wife and then he seemed to go completely off the rails and has never been even close to being the same player. So we're starting to say: 'Wait a minute, is this possible with him, Djokovic?'"

Although Djokovic has admitted over the past year he has been dealing with personal issues away from tennis, he was surprised by McEnroe relating his situation to the crisis Woods faced in 2009 when it was alleged he had several extramarital affairs.

Djokovic said: "He has his right to say the things he wants to say. I don't necessarily need to agree with that. But it's his right.

"So I don't know where was the basis, and he was just maybe making a comparison. I'm not really sure.

"When I was warming up for my first match on the Centre Court, he was giving an intro, talking to the camera, and I served and the serve went straight at him.

"I don't know. Maybe it's because of that.

"Maybe he thought it wasn't a joke and I was joking, I was trying to hit him," added Djokovic.

Kyle Edmund was blown away by Gael Monfils on Centre Court.

Edmund, the British number two, struggled against the French 15th seed who used his full range of power and finesse to run out 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 6-4 winner.

Belfast Telegraph

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