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Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Monday, 23 June 2008 14:37 UK

Federer v Hrbaty as it happened

Men's singles first round result:

R FEDERER (Swi) 1 bt D Hrbaty (Svk)

6-3 6-2 6-2

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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

Federer 6-2 Hrbaty
There we go - straightforward hold, and that's Roger's 60th consecutive win on grass. The hands go up, the cardigan is shrugged back on and a slightly damp bandana is tossed casually into the adoring crowd. Good win for Champ. See you for Anafest '08 in a few minutes.

Federer 5-2 Hrbaty
It's comedy o'clock out there - the Aussie lads on the second row take pity on Hrbats and shout at Fed: "At least tell him where you're going to hit it!" As Hrbats holds with pluck, he walks past his own chair and sits himself down next to Roger. Near-delirium in the crowd, although Roger looks a little put-out. Expect to see that moment all over the highlights later on.

Federer 5-1 Hrbaty
Federer's 10th ace sizzles past Hrbaty's desperate lunge, and we're almost there. Three women in straw boaters push their way to their seats with large cool-bags.

Federer 4-1 Hrbaty
Another Hrbaty service game, another break. He's now wearing the facial expression of a man who's just walked into a sliding patio door. Roger prowls the baseline like a hungry panther.

Federer 3-1 Hrbaty
Dominant hold again, and the full Fed repertoire is now on display. Hrbats is playing his role as the first round sacrificial lamb beautifully - winning the occasional plucky point to please the crowd without detaining the champ any longer than is necessary.

Federer 2-1 Hrbaty
Angered by that snoop cocked at his serve in the previous game, Roger piles into Hrbaty's serve and has him for lunch - that's the break. Laughably, there's someone in the crowd with an umbrella up. And it's not a parasol either, unless the summer '08 look for parasols is matt black.

Federer 1-1 Hrbaty
A super backhand pass sets up a shock break point for Hrbats, only for a howitzer of a Fed serve to ace the chance away.

Federer 0-1 Hrbaty
Good battling from the wily old fox, shaping up to go cross-court and fooling Roger completely with a ripper down the line. In the crowd, a woman in a white sun-visor and risque white blouse bites into what looks like a cheese sandwich on wholemeal.

SECOND SET

Federer 6-2 Hrbaty
Brilliant top-spin forehand from Roger, and Hrbats has no answer. Two sets gone in a mere 53 minutes. If Dom wins this I'll streak across Centre Court in my Bjorn Borg briefs.

Federer 5-2 Hrbaty
Mama Federer - known as Lynette to her friends - watches approvingly from the Royal Box as a Hrbats backhand buries its nose in the net like a frightened mole. Dom stays strong to stay in the set. A Simpsons sky overhead - pale blue with a decent flotilla of cumulo-nimbus.

Federer 5-1 Hrbaty
Ahhs around the arena as Hrbats slips like a startled fawn and watches prone as Federer's volley bounces into the empty court. Barely a spare seat out there now, which has nothing to do with the fact that Ana Ivanovic is due out next.

Federer 4-1 Hrbaty
Dicey for Hrbats, who has something of a dentally-challenged Adam Sandler about him. His ball-toss on his serve is so high that he's got time to bend down and tie his shoelaces before it comes back down, and it takes a surprising Fed error wide to finally get him on the board.

Federer 4-0 Hrbaty
Simple hold again, and the end is perilously nigh in this set already. Eight chaps in inappropraite Australian t-shirts chunter among themselves on the second row.

Federer 3-0 Hrbaty
Heartbreak for Hrbats - Roger is easing through the gears, and a gasp-inducing backhand overhead smash sets up another break point. Dom goes long with a winnable volley and another game has gone. The girl alongside me is eating ginger nuts with a crunch that's loud enough to see her ejected by stricter umpires.

Federer 2-0 Hrbaty
Oohs from the rapt crowd as Roger holds in the blink of mosquito's eye. Hrbats is already walking round with the slumped shoulder body language of a man who'll be checking out of his hotel a day earlier than he hoped.

Federer 1-0 Hrbaty
Alas - Hrbats is soon in trouble on his serve, Roger shifting him mercilessly around court before crashing an overhead down and away into the crowd. Fed then comes to the net again and stays strong under a groundstroke onslaught to snatch another early break.

FIRST SET

Federer 6-3 Hrbaty
As comfortable as a sloth in an armchair. Roger holds with the first serve-volley point of the match, and his 13th winner of the set sees him home. Hrbaty fiddles with the strings on his racquet, looking briefly like a homesick troubadour strumming a sad lament on his acoustic guitar.

"Tom. Other than Nadal and Hrbaty, who is the third to hold a winning record?" Anon via text

Does the name Andy Murray mean nothing to you, Anon?

Federer 5-3 Hrbaty
Great hold from the plucky old stager, keeping Roger pinned beyond the baseline with two thrashers and two sliders. Fed to serve for the set, and he prepares by delicately damping his towelling wristband against his beaded brow.

Federer 5-2 Hrbaty
The backwards shot seems to have inspired Hrbats - glimpses now of the skills that once took him to 12th in the world. A sweetly-timed volley takes him to deuce on the Fed serve, only for a mis-hit long to snuff out any sniff of the break-back. Ball-boys scamper like ants as the players put their feet up.

Federer 4-2 Hrbaty
Shot of the match so far from Hrbats - after Roger floats a backhand lob over him, he sprints back beyond the baseline and hits shot backwards past his own left arm-pit which, in turn, lobs the shocked Roger, who's lounging at the net expecting nothing more than another point. Bright sunshine over Centre Court.

Federer 4-1 Hrbaty
Battering ace from Roger, and Hrbats scampers fruitlessly. In the crowd, a woman in a red sun-top smears Factor 15 on her exposed arms and decolletage.

Federer 3-1 Hrbaty
A moment of stunned silence as Roger goes wide with a slicey backhand to give Hrbats his first game. The applause starts with one man clapping slowly and then builds around the arena as people join in, in the manner of the denouement in a cheesy Hollywood film.

Federer 3-0 Hrbaty
Roger has no need for that bandana - he's barely breaking sweat here. Easy hold again, with sympathetic cheers as a Fed mis-hit gives Hrbats his first point. Small mercies. Roger strolls to his chair and swigs a little water, like a Monte Carlo millionaire sipping champagne on the deck of his yacht.

Federer 2-0 Hrbaty
Raking backhand work from Roger, whipping one down the line to beat Hrbats' feeble lunge and then creaming one cross-court. A whipping forehand top-spin sits down on the line and it's the first break of the match. Eight points played, eight points won by Fed.

Federer 1-0 Hrbaty
Easy hold for Fed in his first game of the championships - Hrbaty puts a forehand wide and another long, and the campaign is underway.

1306: The cardigan's off - a token effort at best from Roger. He loosens up with a couple of casual, booming serves and adjusts his white bandana. Enthusiastic applause as the players ready themselves - Roger to serve first.

1301: Here come the players - Good Lord, it is a cardigan! Think cable-knit cricket jumper with three buttons down the middle and you're almost there. Roger's wearing it with the sleeves rolled up, giving him a Miami-Vice-meets-Hampshire-2nd-XI look.

1258: Before the cardigan issue is put to bed, a little statistical chat for you - Hrbaty is one of only three current players who has a winning record over Federer - he's won both their previous meetings. That's the good news. The bad news is that the last time they played was four years ago. Not sure Dom's improved in that time; injury means he's currently ranked 272.

1250: Centre Court filling up nicely out there. Lots of slightly anxious patrons scurrying to their seats while clutching plastic cups of drained Pimms, while out on the sacred grass carpet a line-judge in white trousers and Gatsby blazer checks the height of the net rather self-importantly.

1245: Afternoon - and the big question is, can Roger pull it off again? The cream-coloured blazer, I mean, rather than winning Wimbledon There's rumours this year that he might be sporting a cardigan instead, although whether this is the sort of look to intimidate Rafa is open to debate. Why not go the whole hog and come out in horn-rimmed specs, clutching a bag of knitting and a Thermos flask?


see also
Ivanovic cruises through opener
23 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day one photos
23 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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