July 9, 2018
Roger Federer showed all his class and timing to defeat Adrian Mannarino 6-0, 7-5, 6-4 on a celebrity-speckled Centre Court.
He took just sixteen minutes to polish off the first set, as the Frenchman’s approach work fell apart.
But to his credit, Mannarino did make it a contest after that, and Federer had to counter break points to stay on track.
The masterful Swiss showed an uncanny ability to move up a gear and get ruthless every time he sensed he was in trouble.
And crucially, Federer came through in straight sets to conserve his energy for the business end of the tournament.
Roger admitted: ‘I’m pleased with my performance, it was a little up and down but I think that was more due to the way my opponent was playing.’
One thirteen-year-old spectator on Centre Court, Luca Ryan, who met celebrities Declan Donnelly and David Haye during the matches, joked: ‘Federer destroyed him first set, then got a bit tired because he is so old. But he was amazing overall.’
Old or not, Roger will take some beating here. And so will another superstar in her late thirties, Serena Williams.
She is looking more and more like the Serena who graced the Wimbledon grass prior to motherhood.
‘My mum had five kids and I don’t even know how that’s possible, I’m struggling with one,’ joked Serena after her 6-2, 6-2 victory.
And it is incredible how far she has come, not just since her return to action, but since she suffered that pectoral injury in Paris.
With all ten top women seeds gone for the first time ever at Wimbledon by Manic Monday, the chances of Serena taking the title seem to be increasing by the day.
As her opponent, Evgeniya Rodina found out, that Serena serve remains a formidable weapon. Behind it, her mobility and shot selection are improving rapidly.
The Russian qualifier couldn’t match the power or composure of the seven-time champion. Serena’s control of rallies means that she is rarely stretched out of her comfort zone.
That will change as she faces greater challenges at the sharp end of the tournament.
But for now, Federer and Williams, the king and queen of Wimbledon, are ruling serenely on Centre Court.
Serena said later: ‘I’m a perfectionist I’ll always find something to improve. It was tougher than the scoreline suggests.’
But she should be able to beat the elegant Italian, Camila Giorgi in the next round – and then the sky would be the limit.