LONDON – Four-time defending champion and heavy favorite Novak Djokovic began his quest for a record with a straight-sets Wimbledon win over Argentina’s Pedro Cachin on Center Court on Monday.
Djokovic, 36, is seeking a record-extending men’s 24th Grand Slam title, which would also bring him level with Australia’s Margaret Court, and match Roger Federer’s eight Wimbledon wins and Federer and Björn Borg’s tally of five consecutive men’s singles titles. Will match the record.
Although Cachin claimed an early break in a competitive first set, the only time Djokovic was inconvenienced was when he complained about the risk of slipping on the lightly damp court, as rain caused a 70-minute delay, during which the roof was closed and reopened.
They increased in quality through the second set, but Cechin showed admirable fighting quality to take the third set on serve in the tiebreaker, before Djokovic prevailed 6–3, 6–3, 7–6(4). Went.
The last time Djokovic lost on Center Court was against Andy Murray in the 2013 final, and notably this was his last loss on grass by any of the 128 players in this year’s draw, although for several years he has used grass-court warm-ups. Have avoided. events.
Djokovic said, “For me, the opening match is a bit difficult, I haven’t played any warm-up matches and the grass is a bit different from the clay.” “I’ve managed to adapt very well over the years and hopefully I’ll be able to do it again.”
Djokovic admitted the crowd was disappointed by the rain delay, but said the terrace was slippery until it reopened. “I usually come out with a racket, not a towel,” he said.
A reminder of the small differences that separate the great from the merely very good, Catchin played only one match on grass, and lost it, but at long last competed with the most successful player of all time and broke him. Gave. Djokovic leads 3-2 in the first set on a rare double fault.
However, the champion quickly bounced back and as she began to find her range, broke through the Argentine defense to win the first set in 42 minutes.
What followed was the kind of delay that drives Wimbledon fans crazy. After a light rain, the roof was fixed, but Djokovic was reluctant to return to the ground after the ball boys began using leaf blowers to dry the surface.
Action resumed after 70 minutes – the terrace was open again – and Djokovic took to the field with an immediate break. Although she fired some crowd-pleasing drop shots, it was the consistent power and accuracy of her groundstrokes as well as her increasingly powerful serve that overwhelmed her 68th-ranked opponent.
To his credit, the 28-year-old Cachin kept the champion honest in the third, coming back from 0-30 down 5-4 with four consecutive points to take it into the tiebreak, but Djokovic held on to win it comfortably. Used gear again. ,
Also on Monday, American Michael Mamoh defeated Canadian 11th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4 in a four-hour struggle. Amazing victory. And reach the second round.
Mamoh, who grabbed headlines earlier this year by reaching the third round of the Australian Open after defeating Alexander Zverev, is ranked 119th in the world.
No. 4 seed Casper Ruud held his own on grass after a wobble and defeated French qualifier Laurent Locoli 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.