Wimbledon: Federer advances to round three

Jun 24, 2011

Roger Federer beat Adrian Mannarino 6-2 6-3 6-2 on Thursday to cruise into the Wimbledon third round.

Like a rabbit caught in the Centre Court floodlights, the French world number 55 was given a tennis lesson by the Swiss in a one-sided match.

Federer had been forced to wait around all day after the earlier two Centre Court matches went the distance and he was in no mood to waste any more time.

The third seed raced into a 3-0 lead in the first two sets with the crowd taking increasing pity on Mannarino who never stood a chance.

Federer races through in time for dinner

Those who believe destruction cannot be an elegant affair have never seen the wrecking ball called Roger Federer. Spectators on the Centre Court witnessed two long, close-fought matches before the six-time Wimbledon Champion eventually began his second round match against Adrian Mannarino at 7.54pm.

Federer, it seemed, had long since tired of all the waiting around and was in a rush to get to dinner. The beleaguered Frenchman required 34 minutes and was well into the second set before he could plunder so much as a single point on his opponent's serve. Federer cantered to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory, watched by his parents Robert and Lynette from the Royal Box.

The die was cast with the very first game, in which the third seed - still so strange to think he is rated merely third-best these days - required all of one minute to hold to love. When it came to Mannarino's turn to serve, Federer appeared to have as much time as he chose to attack at will. Breaking was a simple affair.

Highlights for the 22-year-old Frenchman were hard to come by. Ranked 55 in the world, he managed the occasional service return of reasonable quality, but could make no impression for the duration of the set. At 5-2, Federer decided he would like to open the serving in the second set, so he rounded off the first set by breaking Mannarino again. It really did seem as simple as that.

To underline the point, he opened the second set by - can you guess? - holding to love. Next game Mannarino kept his head above water in an 18-stroke rally, only to see his efforts rewarded with a gorgeous passing shot by Federer to create another breaking opportunity. Dispirited, Mannarino netted a volley and it was 0-2.

Then came Mannarino's big moment. The Swiss deposited the ball in the net to give the Frenchman a whole point on Federer's serve. Yet greater glories were to come. At 3-5 a fabulous forehand down the line got Mannarino to 0-30 on Federer's service, and almost to his own disbelief a good return forced an error from Federer for 0-40. Not just one break point but three, all at once. But wouldn't you know it? Luck was on Federer's side when a mishit went unpunished, and he served out the set as if there had never been a problem.

Federer didn't want his opponent getting any funny ideas featuring any kind of encouragement. He broke him at once at the start of the third, then again for 4-1. The whole match was done in 88 minutes, and Federer ended it as he began, by holding to love. Fairytales do happen in sport... just not against Roger Federer, when he is playing like this.