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Federer, Djokovic get Wimby passes

LONDON (AFP) – Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic barely had to break sweat to make winning starts at Wimbledon as their injury-hit opponents retired hurt amid a plague of withdrawals that blighted the first round on Tuesday.

Federer is chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title and he was already well on top at the start of his 19th All England Club campaign when Alexandr Dolgopolov was forced to quit with an ankle injury.

The world number three raced into a 6-3, 3-0 in 43 minutes on Centre Court before the Ukrainian limped off.

Federer, who hit his 10,000th career ace in the eighth game of the first set, will face Dusan Lajovic for a place in the last 32.

“I felt like there was a bit of a letdown from the crowd. They couldn’t believe that it happened again, exactly the same situation,” said Federer, who recorded his 85th match win at Wimbledon, passing the mark he shared with Jimmy Connors.

“The chairman said, ‘You and Novak should go and play for another set and a half’. I feel for the crowd. They’re there to watch good tennis.”

Having unexpectedly won the Australian Open in January before taking the clay-court season off to rest, Federer, making a record-equaling 70th Grand Slam appearance, is the favorite to take the Wimbledon crown for the first time since 2012.

Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon champion, was leading 6-3, 2-0 when Slovakian world number 47 Martin Klizan retired after just 40 minutes on Centre Court due to a calf problem.

The 30-year-old Serb will face Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic for a place in the last 32.

It was the kind of trouble-free first round Djokovic would have been hoping for after the most turbulent period of his career, the 12-time major winner losing in the Australian Open second round and the French Open quarter-finals.

In total, there have been seven retirements from the men’s draw over the first two days, sparking talk that players were taking part, even though they were injured, to collect the £35,000 check for first round losers.

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