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Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Fed's first-round scare an omen?

By Kamakshi Tandon, ESPN.com



Roger Federer's hair will once again be combed and smooth when he returns to the court at Wimbledon on Wednesday. The six-time champ was looking quite disheveled by the end of his five-set battle against an inspired Alejandro Falla in the first round, matching the untidy state of his game.



Will the admittedly "lucky" escape jolt Federer into life for the rest of the tournament, or is it a sign of vulnerability for future rounds?



"Scores are set back to 0-0," said Federer, looking ahead to his next encounter against Ilija Bozoljac. "That's a good thing."



Federer has had a few scares in his Grand Slam career. He went five sets against Janko Tipsarevic at the 2008 Australian Open, winning that match but eventually losing in the semifinals. Later that year, he went five sets against Igor Andreev at the U.S. Open and ended up winning the tournament.

"It's important to take the right things out of this match," Federer said Monday. "There was positives and negatives, obviously.



"But then again, every player, thank God, in some ways plays different. The next guy is a righty, big-serving guy, nothing to do with the guy I played today.



"Because you struggle today doesn't mean you're going to struggle in the next match, too. Same thing if you win in straights, it doesn't mean you're going to win the next match in straights. That's just the way tennis is."



The dramatics transfixed the whole grounds, including the locker room.



"I think everyone was watching that one," Andy Roddick said.



And no matter what he says, the opportunity presented by an early Federer exit surely crossed Roddick's mind.



"I've said ad nauseam, it's probably boring to all of you, it is true: You play the next one," he insisted.



In fact, that's probably a good idea. Roddick's upcoming match is against Michael Llodra, a serve-and-volley Frenchman who won Eastbourne this past week and has former Wimbledon champ Amelie Mauresmo coaching him here at the All England Club.



And Federer isn't the only one who'll be regrouping Wednesday after a nerve-racking first-rounder. After the Swiss went 3 hours, 18 minutes to open proceedings on Centre Court, Novak Djokovic closed the day with another marathon, winning a 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 battle against Olivier Rochus. Under the Centre Court lights, it finished at 10:58 p.m., the latest finish in Wimbledon history. The roof, now in its second year, was closed to allow play to continue when it became too dark outside.



Nikolay Davydenko, playing his second tournament after a three-month injury break and never a fan of grass, came through 3-6, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 7-5, 9-7. The famously non-famous Russian was making his Court 1 debut at Wimbledon, his first time on one of the two big show courts. "Thanks to the tournament director for that," he said.


Here's hoping he enjoyed his time in the limelight -- Davydenko is back on Court 12 for Wednesday's second-round match against Daniel Brands.