Federer shows new look, familiar dominance at Wimbledon

LONDON — New look, same old dominance for Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

The eight-time champion began his title defence in style at the All England Club, brushing aside Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 in 79 minutes on Centre Court.

Lajovic held serve in the opening game but that was as good as it got for the 58th-ranked Serb. Federer reeled off the next nine games to take charge and was in cruise control for the rest of the match.

The 36-year-old Swiss star never faced a break point and showed off the full repertoire of shots that has made him the most successful male player at Wimbledon.

The only things unfamiliar about Federer were his clothes. He wore a Uniqlo outfit for the first time after ending his career-long apparel partnership with Nike. But it clearly had no effect on his game.

“Felt right at home again, so that was a really nice feeling,” he said. “I got the early break in each set and then was able to bring it home. I’m really happy with my focus as well, point-for-point mentality.”

Federer is looking for a record-extending ninth title at the All England Club but only needed to step onto the court to create a bit more history. He is the first man in the Open era to play in the grass-court Grand Slam for a 20th straight year.

Before stepping off the court, he gave his headband to a young female fan in the crowd — and joked he could be giving away a lot more before the fortnight is over.

The girl had held up a sign saying, “Can I have your headband pleeease!!”, and a post-match interviewer pointed out that Federer could expect more requests in coming matches after fulfilling her wishes.

And he’s apparently ready to oblige.

“Yes, they want a watch, a car, a racket, a shirt, they can have it all at this point,” Federer said.

Last year’s runner-up Marin Cilic also advanced easily with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka.

The third-seeded Croatian hit 21 aces and a total of 44 winners — compared to one ace and six winners for Nishioka — to complete victory in 1 hour, 46 minutes.

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., opened with a 7-5, 6-0, 6-1 victory over Britain’s Liam Broady while Peter Polansky, also of Thornhill, dropped his first-round match to Austria’s Dennis Novak.

American Sam Querrey, who lost to Cilic in the semifinals last year, had a similarly comfortable start as he beat Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

In women’s play, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens became the first contender to go out as she lost 6-1, 6-3 to Donna Vekic of Croatia.

The fourth-seeded Stephens produced an error-strewn display on No. 1 Court as she exited in the opening round for a second consecutive year.

Having backed up her 2017 U.S. Open triumph by reaching the French Open final last month, Stephens was considered a title hopeful.

Last year’s semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova also exited, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

Just Posted

128 Flags of Remembrance now flying in Sylvan Lake until Nov. 12

Centennial Park boasts 128 Canadian flags to honour 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action.

Mirror fire department still short volunteers

Fire department will close if volunteers can’t be found

Emazing Bike tour hits Red Deer

Cross-Canada electric bike tour to break world record

Crown may seek dangerous offender status for 2015 Christmas Day stabber

Psychiatric assessment being done of man sentenced In November 2017 to seven years for manslaughter

Alberta Culture Days coming next weekend to Red Deer area

Lots of artistic activites and shows for all ages

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as… Continue reading

Tiger Woods winning adds to Ryder Cup buzz

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Already the most intense competition in golf, the Ryder… Continue reading

Ex-Sabres captain Brian Gionta retires after 16 NHL seasons

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Brian Gionta has retired after 16 NHL seasons, two… Continue reading

Curling season kicks off after massive shake-up of multiple men’s teams

With so many top Canadian men’s curling teams opening this season with… Continue reading

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

OTTAWA — Newly released figures show Canadian officials have removed only a… Continue reading

Texas prisons often deny dentures to inmates with no teeth

HOUSTON — Inmates without teeth in Texas are routinely denied dentures because… Continue reading

Sex assault charge stayed against one British sailor, trial proceeds for other

HALIFAX — The Crown has stayed a sexual assault charge against a… Continue reading

Most Read