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World no.1 Novak Djokovic got more than a useful workout in his opening match at Wimbledon as the defending champion cruised past former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to book his place in the second round.
Having skipped all the pre-Wimbledon tune-up events, there was a slight concern about Novak's form and fitness after a disappointing conclusion to the clay court season where he went down rather tamely to Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open. However, with his first serve working to near perfection, Djokovic was able to dig himself out of any holes he found himself in, and powered his way to a comfortable win.
The lack of competitive match play showed early as Novak dropped serve in the third game to concede an early break, but the talented Serb got his act together in the very next game to break right back and prevent former world no.1 Ferrero to take advantage.
The opening set continued to go on serve till the 8th game when Djokovic broke for a 5-3 lead before wrapping up the set comfortably 6-3.
An early break in the second set seemed to set the Djoker on his way, and he became a lot more adventurous in the games that followed, taking advantage of the opportunities to race to the net and sharpen his volley game. Djokovic had chances to go up a double break in the 7th game, but failed to capitalize. That threatened to prove costly as Ferrero earned three break back points in the following game, but Djokovic hung in to keep his advantage intact, and pull ahead 5-3. In the following game, Ferrero fought bravely to stave off a barage of set points before Djokovic finally prevailed to take a two sets to love lead.
The third set threatened to have the makings of a whitewash when Djokovic broke early to take a 2-0 lead. Ferrero did get on the scoreboard, but all he got was the one game as the defending champion wrapped up the win in an hour and 37 minutes, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. Djokovic is likely to be tested further in the second round where he meets the winner of the match between talented American youngster Ryan Harrison and Chinese Taipei Yen Hsun-Lu, who made the quarter-finals here a couple of years ago.
Other early winners on the opening day of the Championships include 17th seed Fernando Verdasco, 18th seed Richard Gasquet and 26th seed Mikhail Youzhny all of whom prevailed in straight sets at the expense of Wang, Kamke and Young respectively. Also winning on Monday morning were Frenchman Julien Benneteau and Americans Ryan Sweeting and Michael Russell.
Singles - First Round
 N Djokovic (SRB) d J Ferrero (ESP) 63 63 61
 F Verdasco (ESP) d J Wang (TPE) 76(3) 64 75
 R Gasquet (FRA) d T Kamke (GER) 62 62 62
 M Youzhny (RUS) d D Young (USA) 46 63 62 63
 J Benneteau (FRA) d G Muller (LUX) 62 75 76(4)
M Russell (USA) d A Menendez-MacEiras (ESP) 63 61 76(7)
R Sweeting (USA) d P Starace (ITA) 62 20 ret.
File Photograph Copyright: Simon Tregidgo
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