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Sport

Federer narrowly avoids shock defeat in first round

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-21

Roger Federer narrowly avoided one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history when he lost two sets to 60th seed Alejandro Falla in the first round on Monday. Federer recovered to win 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 6-0.

AFP - Roger Federer averted one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history when the defending men's champion recovered from two sets down to beat Colombia's Alejandro Falla in the first round Monday.
  
The Swiss top seed seemed woefully out of form as his unfancied opponent, the world number 60, stunned the crowd by taking the first two sets in the first match on Centre Court this year.
  
But the six-time Wimbledon champion recovered to win 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 6-0.
  
Federer, who is chasing a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon men's title, has only lost once at the All England Club since 2002, when he lost the 2008 final to Rafael Nadal.
  
But he avoided becoming only the third ever defending men's Wimbledon champion to lose in the first round by recovering his game.
  
Federer had won all four of his previous encounters with Falla in straight sets, including both of their last two tournaments - two weeks ago on the grass at Halle, and in the French Open.
  
They also met here on Centre Court in the second round in 2004, during Falla's debut at the All England Club, as the Swiss defending champion went on to claim his second Wimbledon title.
  
But despite Federer's previous dominance, the Colombian visibly grew in confidence in the first set, which went with serve until 5-5.
  
Falla then created two break points on Federer's serve and converted the second with a well-timed volley to stun the Centre Court crowd.
  
The Swiss then went 0-30 up on his opponent's serve but Falla dug in and won the set when Federer hit a cross-court forehand out.
  
In the second set, Falla managed to break again for a 4-3 lead. At 5-4, Federer had game point, but he hit the net with a return to take it to deuce.
  
After a string of deuces, in which the advantage swung both ways, Falla eventually triumphed with a drop shot over the net to shock the crowd further by taking a two-set lead.
  
In a key game at 4-4 in the third set, the Colombian had three break points, but Federer pulled it back to deuce.
  
Falla took the advantage but the champion levelled, then held the advantage after a duel at the net, before serving an ace for a 5-4 lead.
  
Federer had a break for set point when Falla hit a shot long, but the Colombian took it to deuce with a superb shot down the line.
  
Federer had the advantage when Falla hit the net, and won the set with a cross-court forehand winner which landed just inside the line to start his comeback.
  
Falla broke on the deuce in the first game of the fourth set to give himself an excellent chance of finishing off his opponent.
  
Federer had a break point at 4-3 down but wasted it, Falla taking the game when Federer sent another mistimed shot looping out. The Swiss held serve to leave the Colombian serving for the match at 5-4 up.
  
Federer took two break points and levelled at 5-5 as Falla fired long, and the Swiss made it 6-5 with an excellent slice over the net - the kind of skilful execution that had hitherto been so badly lacking from his game.
  
In the tie break, Federer broke early and never looked back, taking it 7/1.
  
Federer broke in the first and third games of the fifth set, and finally began to dominate his opponent, eventually showing the form that has made him an all-time Wimbledon great as he at last exerted his superior skill.
 

Date created : 2010-06-21

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