Federer win ensures long weekend

Roger Federer looked forward to a weekend off after booking his place in the second week of Wimbledon with a straight-sets win over France’s Marc Gicquel.

The defending champion overcame a slow start after the first rain delay of the fortnight to cruise to a 6-3 6-3 6-1 victory in just 81 minutes on Centre Court.

“The conditions were difficult again against a tricky opponent who played very aggressively,” Federer said.

“The wind was swirling and I got down a break early and had to rally back but I think I played really well.

“Not losing a set (so far) is always nice and I get a couple of days off now and hopefully I will play as well again next week.”

Federer could face Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round and he added on BBC1: “The next round will be a lot more difficult.

“It’s a great challenge to play Lleyton, he is a former world number one and grand slam champion so it should be an exciting match.”

Federer looked to have been caught cold after a 90-minute rain delay as he lost his serve in the opening game of the match, but instantly broke back to level the score.

Gicquel, the world number 53, was not initially overawed by the occasion and saved a break point in the fourth game, but eventually the unforced errors mounted as Federer also began to find his rhythm.

Top seed Federer broke for a 4-2 lead and served out to take the set 6-3 after 32 minutes.

Despite being – at 31 years and three months old – the second oldest man left in the draw, Gicquel was making only his second appearance at Wimbledon.

The Frenchman lost in the first round last year but came back from two sets down to defeat Ilia Bozoljac in the second round – saving a match point in the fourth set – and was runner-up in a grasscourt event in Holland last week.

However, facing Federer on Centre Court was an entirely different proposition of course, and the five-time champion broke in the opening game of the second set and again in the ninth to take it 6-3.

Federer looked capable of raising his game whenever required and did so to break Gicquel’s serve for the fifth time to lead 3-1 in the third set.

The 26-year-old was also able to respond to even the slightest hint of danger, recovering from 15-30 down in the next game with three unreturnable serves.

A sixth break of Gicquel’s serve helped put the Frenchman out of his misery as Federer cruised to victory.

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