Federer wins Wimbledon opener | AspenTimes.com

Federer wins Wimbledon opener

Stephen Wilson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Switzerland's defending champion Roger Federer serves to Russia's Teimuraz Gabashvili, during their Men's Singles, first round match on Centre Court of the All England Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Monday June 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **

WIMBLEDON, England ” Roger Federer came onto Centre Court at Wimbledon dressed like a player from a bygone era. He then played like his usual modern-day great self.

The top-ranked Swiss star began his bid for a record equaling fifth consecutive Wimbledon title by beating Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on a cool and wet opening day at the All England Club.

It was Federer’s 49th consecutive grass-court victory and 29th straight at Wimbledon, a streak that began in 2003. With six more victories over the next two weeks, he would become the first player to win five straight championships since Bjorn Bjorg in 1976-80.

As is so often the case at Wimbledon, the tournament began in wet weather, with play getting under way after a rain delay of about 2 hours, 40 minutes.

In keeping with tradition, Federer was the first player to walk onto Centre Court as defending men’s champion. He did it in style, wearing a white customized dinner-style jacket _ similar to the cream-colored model he donned last year _ with a gold crest on the breast pocket and retro long white trousers.

Federer took off the jacket and warmed up with a white sweater vest and the long pants before getting straight down to business _ firing a service winner down the middle on the first point. He was never troubled by the 85th-ranked Gabashvili, who was making his Wimbledon debut and had won only one previous grass-court match.

Federer needed only 1 1/2 hours to complete the victory, finishing with 33 winners and 13 unforced errors. He broke the Russian four times and saved the only break point against him.

Federer’s mother sat in the Royal Box, while his girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec, was joined by Italian motorcycling star Valentino Rossi in his supporters’ section.

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