Roger Federer was spared a serious upset bid in his first-round match Tuesday when the “better player” Adrian Mannarino was forced to retire after slipping on the grass court at the All England Club in London.
Federer won the opening set, lost the next two and was a break down in the fourth when Mannarino — on his 33rd birthday — slipped and had his right knee buckle underneath him.
Mannarino was given painkillers and returned, only to drop the fourth set and then retire one point into the fifth after two hours, 44 minutes.
“It’s awful,” Federer said. “It shows that one shot can change the outcome of a match, a season, a career, so I wish him all the best. I hope he recovers quickly so we can see him back on the courts because, look, he could have won the match at the end. He was the better player. I definitely got a bit lucky but who cares about that — I wish him all the best.”
Federer, the No. 6 seed in the men’s draw, had not lost in the first round of a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2002.
Federer draws another Frenchman in the second round; Richard Gasquet defeated Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in four sets in their first-round match.
Second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev needed two hours, 31 minutes to dispatch German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (3). Medvedev slammed 16 aces against just two double faults and finished with 51 winners.
Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany made quick work of the Netherlands’ Tallon Griekspoor 6-3, 6-4, 6-1. Likewise, No. 9 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina defeated France’s Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in 91 minutes.
Canadian and No. 10 seed Denis Shapovalov had to go the distance to down German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in three hours, 35 minutes.
However, it was not even close to being the longest match of the day. Spain’s Pablo Andujar outlasted France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in five hours, two minutes 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 5-7, 8-6.
American Sebastian Korda upset No. 15 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5).
Other first-round winners include No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz, No. 22 seed Daniel Evans, No. 26 seed Fabio Fognini, Oscar Otte, Soonwoo Kwon, Antoine Hoang, Tennys Sandgren, Laslo Djere, Lloyd Harris, Marc Polmans, Dusan Lajovic, Alex Bolt and Egor Gerasimov.
The Ugo Humbert-Nick Kyrgios match was suspended in the fifth set with the score knotted at 3-3 due to Wimbledon’s 11 p.m. curfew.
–Field Level Media