Roger Federer overcomes sloppy start to book place in Wimbledon third round

Roger Federer will likely have to play better if he wants 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.

"I started slow early on, I couldn’t get rid of the nerves and struggled to find my rhythm," Federer told the BBC.

"Even when I got back into it after I broke him I struggled in the first set and I was happy to get rid of those nerves, play free tennis, more inspired, and at the end it was very good."

Federer was broken in the first game, punished for three errant backhands, and while he hit back in the fourth it was a disjointed start from the Swiss, full of careless mistakes from the back.

He improved in the tie-break, however, a whipping forehand cross-court the highlight of seven points won in a row. It was only the fourth time in his career Federer had won a grand slam tie-break to love.

Lajovic, previously hitting freely from the baseline, lost his way and when the Serbian framed a smash into the chuckling crowd, the second-set break, and control, was with Federer.

The third set was even more straight-forward as two breaks put Federer in command before a second-serve ace completed a comfortable victory.

Federer admitted later that that 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."

Asked about the process of waiting to come onto court, Federer said: "Sometimes it’s like a piece of cake. Sometimes you just stand there and - ’Okay, what’s happening? Can we go or not go? How much longer do you want us to wait? Do we have enough time to put our bags down or not? Because the bags are getting heavy, nine rackets I have strung.’ That’s all going through your head.

"Sometimes you walk out - ’Oh, finally, we’re outside. How is everybody looking? How is the weather?’

"Sometimes you feel that way. And sometimes you’re in this tunnel - ’Oh, I hope I hold my first service game’. You can’t explain. It really depends on what your mind is telling you."


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