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Federer, Serena rip Wimbledon rivals

LONDON (AFP) – Eight-time champion Roger Federer and seven-time winner Serena Williams shrugged off 30-degree heat to breeze into the Wimbledon second round Monday.

Federer, the defending champion and seeking a 21st major, marked the start of his 20th successive Wimbledon with a new look and a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

Williams, like Federer, 36-years-old but chasing a 24th Slam title, enjoyed a hard-fought 7-5, 6-3 victory over Holland’s Arantxa Rus.

It was the American’s first match at the All England Club since lifting the 2016 title.

She missed the 2017 edition as she prepared for the birth of her first child.

Top seed Federer marched out on Centre Court dressed for the first time in gear designed by Japanese giant Uniqlo in a deal reported to be worth $300 million after a two-decade association with Nike.

But everything else was familiar for the Swiss star who cruised past world number 57 Lajovic in just 79 minutes.
It was the second successive year that Federer had knocked out the Serb at Wimbledon.

Out on Court One, Serena, seeded 25 this year despite a ranking of 181, had too much power for Rus, the world 107.

US Open champion and fourth seed Sloane Stephens became the tournament’s first big name casualty when she slumped to a 6-1, 6-3 loss to Croatia’s world 55 Donna Vekic.

For Stephens, fresh from making the French Open final last month, it was her second successive first round loss at the tournament.

“There isn’t too much I can do – I’m not going to go and cry. Life goes on,’’ said Stephens, who was followed out of the tournament by Bulgarian sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov.

The 2014 semi-finalist was stunned by three-time Slam winner Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

Wawrinka, whose ranking has slumped to 225 after knee surgery, had lost his last four matches against Dimitrov.

But at the same tournament where he played what proved to be his last match of 2017, the 33-year-old was rejuvenated.
‘’It’s a great feeling to win like this on Centre Court,’’ said Wawrinka, twice a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon.

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