Ben Becker

Roger Federer (above), holds his head during his too close for comfort first round match with Alejandro Falla.

Roger Federer, the defending champion, six time champion, and top seed, wasn’t the only top male to find himself on the brink of elimination today in the first round on the first day of Wimbledon, 2010.  Third seed Novak Djokovic, desperate for a good result here, was also down 2 sets to 1 and a break to Belgian one hander, Olivier Rocchus, and was able to climb out of the hole, to win 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in 3 hours and 51 minutes.  The match was completed under the roof on centre court, and ended near 11 pm local time, the latest ever ending Wimbledon match.

Nikolay Davydenko, the 7th seed who missed the last few months due to injury, also had to come back from down 2 sets to 1 against South African 6’7 shot maker and University of Illinois product, Kevin Anderson, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 7-5, 9-7, needing an extended 5th set.  Anderson played amazing tennis, striking 116 winners along with 36 aces, and 41/66 net approaches.  The error count was low on both sides, and Davydenko also played excellent tennis as well, as the edge may have come down to experience.  Davydenko also did an amazing job at net, winning an astounding 85 % of his approaches (30/35).

The rest of today’s first round matches were a bit more predictable on the men’s side, and a few Americans notched wins.

Mardy Fish over Australian prodigy Bernard Tomic, 6-3, 7-6 (8), 6-2.

Dandy Andy over American Rajeev Ram, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Terrible Taylor Dent takes out Juan Ignacio Chela, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 7-5.

American Jesse Witten fell to talented one handed Frenchman, Michael Llodra, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3.

Seventeeth seeded Ivan Ljubicic fell in straights to Michal Przysiezny of Poland, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Ilija Bozoljac, who will meet Federer in round 2, got by in a tight 4th setter, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) over Nicolas Massu.

Gael Monfils took out Argentine Leonardo Mayer, 6-1, 7-6 (9), 6-2 in Monfils first match at SW-19 since 2007.

In a shocker, 11th seed Marin Cilic lost in straights to Florian Mayer, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (1).

Other victors included former champ Lleyton Hewitt, Feliciano Lopez over American Jessie Levine, Philipp Kolschreiber, Tomas Berdych, Yen-Hsun Lu, Rainer Schuettler, Daniel Brands, Evgeny Korolev, Teimuraz Gabashvili, Karol Beck, Victor Troicki, Peter Luczak, Ben Becker, Arnaud Clement, American teenager Brendan Evans, Lithuanian prodigy Ricardas Barankis, Marsel Ilhan, Jurgen Melzer, Denis Istomin, who upset Stan Wawrinka, and who famously played Nadal to a 4 hour, 3 set match at Queen’s Club 2 weeks ago, and Victor Hanescu.

–Crack (

 World #2 and defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer ran his win streak at Halle to 29 matches and his overall grass win streak to 11 matches by notching a close victory over one handed German Philipp Petzschner today, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in 1 hour and 32 minutes.

The victory sets up matchup number 25 between Federer and former Wimbledon aand US Open champion and world # 1, Lleyton Hewitt, who defeated Germany’s Benjamin Becker today, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-2 in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

Federer, despite some famously well played matches in the series, has not lost to Hewitt in 15 matches, dating back to 2003.  Hewitt got off to a great start against Federer in his career, winning 7 0f their first 9 contests, but now trails in the head to head 17 to 7.  Federer made an important tactical change against Hewitt to turn the tide in his favor, when he stopped coming forward as much against the Aussie, who likes having a target at net and who doesn’t generate enough pace on his own to take Federer from the baseline.  Take a look at their head to heads below:

Year Tournament & City Surface Round Winner & Score
2010 Australian Open
Hard R16 Federer, Roger
6-2, 6-3, 6-4 Stats
2009 US Open
NY, U.S.A.
Hard R32 Federer, Roger
4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 Stats
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati
OH, U.S.A.
Hard Q Federer, Roger
6-3, 6-4 Stats
2008 Wimbledon
Great Britain
Grass R16 Federer, Roger
7-6(7), 6-2, 6-4 Stats
2007 ATP Masters Series Cincinnati
OH, U.S.A.
Hard S Federer, Roger
6-3, 6-7(7), 7-6(1) Stats
2007 ATP Masters Series Canada
Hard Q Federer, Roger
6-3, 6-4 Stats
2005 US Open
NY, U.S.A.
Hard S Federer, Roger
6-3, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 Stats
2005 Wimbledon
Grass S Federer, Roger
6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) Stats
2005 ATP Masters Series Indian Wells
California, USA
Hard F Federer, Roger
6-2, 6-4, 6-4 Stats
2004 Tennis Masters Cup
Houston, TX, USA
Hard F Federer, Roger
6-3, 6-2 Stats
2004 Tennis Masters Cup
Houston, TX, USA
Hard RR Federer, Roger
6-3, 6-4 Stats
2004 US Open
NY, U.S.A.
Hard F Federer, Roger
6-0, 7-6(3), 6-0 Stats
2004 Wimbledon
Grass Q Federer, Roger
6-1, 6-7(1), 6-0, 6-4 Stats
2004 ATP Masters Series Hamburg
Clay S Federer, Roger
6-0, 6-4 Stats
2004 Australian Open
Hard R16 Federer, Roger
4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 Stats
2003 AUS v. SUI WG SF
Melbourne, Australia
Hard RR Hewitt, Lleyton
5-7, 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-1 
2002 Tennis Masters Cup
Shanghai, China
Hard S Hewitt, Lleyton
7-5, 5-7, 7-5 Stats
2002 ATP Masters Series Paris
Carpet Q Hewitt, Lleyton
6-4, 6-4 Stats
2002 ATP Masters Series Miami
FL, U.S.A.
Hard S Federer, Roger
6-3, 6-4 Stats
2001 ‘s-Hertogenbosch
The Netherlands
Grass S Hewitt, Lleyton
6-4, 6-2 Stats
2000 Basel
Carpet S Federer, Roger
6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6) Stats
2000 ATP Masters Series Canada
Toronto, Canada
Hard R64 Hewitt, Lleyton
3-6, 6-3, 6-2 Stats
2000 AUS V SUI 1RD
Zurich, Switzerland
Carpet RR Hewitt, Lleyton
6-2, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 
1999 Lyon
Carpet R32 Hewitt, Lleyton
7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4 Stats

Hewitt, despite not beating Roger in years, does own one victory against Federer on grass, something that few active players can boast.  The match will not be televised live in the United States.

–Crack (

Roger Federer (above), sticks a volley against Alejandro Falla.

World # 2 and defending Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer, ran his lifetime record to 5-0 versus German Philipp Kohlschreiber, extended his overall winning streak on grass to 10, and his winning streak at Halle to 28 matches, with a 7-5, 6-3 win in 1 hour and 8 minutes, in which he did not drop serve.

Tomorrow in the semi-finals, Federer will face another talented German one hander, Philipp Petzschner, a late developing shot maker, who ended 2009 at # 80 and has climbed steadily to world # 41. 

In the other semi-final, Lleyton Hewitt takes on German Ben Becker.  A Federer-Hewitt final would be a rematch of the 2004 US Open final, where Roger destroyed Hewitt 6-0, 7-6 (3), 6-0.  Since 2003, when Hewitt held a 7-2 head to head edge over Federer, Roger has won 15 straight against the Aussie, and has an 8-0 record versus Hewitt at majors in his career.

–Crack (