• Roof stays open, Federer wins to start Wimbledon - [Sports news]

    2009-06-23 | Tag:Tennis

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    WIMBLEDON, England - The new roof wasn't tested. Roger Federer was - briefly.

    The retractable roof stayed open Monday at Wimbledon, and Federer fell behind early in the opening match on Center Court before charging past Yen-hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.

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    Roger Federer of Switzerland serves to Chinese Taipei's Lu Yen-hsun during their Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 22, 2009.

    In his first match since winning the French Open, Federer failed to convert his first four break-point chances, then lost serve to trail 3-2. But he immediately broke back, broke again in the final game of the opening set and dominated from there.

    "I'm very happy with my first round," Federer said. "I thought it was a very solid performance."

    Seeking his sixth Wimbledon title, Federer won for the 41st time in his past 42 matches at the All England Club. The lone loss came in last year's final to Rafael Nadal, a match hailed by some as the sport's best ever.

    The tournament began in cloudy but dry weather. When it rains, the translucent roof on the 87-year-old stadium will be closed so play can continue.

    "I guess the moment will come that I'll play indoors here," Federer said. "But you don't really hope for it during the match."

    The No 2-seeded Federer is a strong favorite to win his 15th major title, which would break the record he shares with Pete Sampras.

    Advancing on the women's side were 2002-03 champion Serena Williams and 2004 winner Maria Sharapova. No 17 James Blake was the first seeded player eliminated, but fellow Americans Mardy Fish and Vince Spadea advanced. No 4-seeded Novak Djokovic also won.

    Federer made his entrance sporting a sleek new white warmup outfit with gold trim that included a jacket with a turned-up collar, a vest, slacks and two-toned shoes. The crowd roared when he appeared, and he responded with a wave and smile.

    There were more cheers - and a few whistles of approval - when he removed his jacket to reveal the vest.

    "Kind of a little bit more modern look - a bit more military jacket this time, but obviously staying true to Wimbledon with the white colors," Federer said. "I hope people like it."

    By the time the match started, Federer had stripped down to shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. He was assigned to play the first match on Centre Court after defending champion Nadal withdrew Friday because of sore knees.

    "Rafa deserves it obviously more than I do this year," Federer said. "But somebody had to do it, so I'm very happy that they chose me. It gets your heart beating, that's for sure."

    After being broken early, Federer held every service game. He finished with 10 unforced errors and hit 42 winners from all over the court.

    One winner was a running backhand from several steps beyond the sideline, which he ripped up the line into the corner to win the point. It was a spectacular shot even by Federer's standards, and the stoic Swiss celebrated with a raised fist as the crowd roared.

    (Agencies)

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