Djokovic, Federer advance easily

Czech Karolina Pliskova (above) in action during her round of 32 match against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova (right) on Monday. Rybarikova won 6-2, 6-3, claiming the victory in just over an hour.
Czech Karolina Pliskova (above) in action during her round of 32 match against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova on Monday. Rybarikova won 6-2, 6-3, claiming the victory in just over an hour.PHOTO: REUTERS
Czech Karolina Pliskova (above) in action during her round of 32 match against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova (right) on Monday. Rybarikova won 6-2, 6-3, claiming the victory in just over an hour.
Czech Karolina Pliskova in action during her round of 32 match against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova (above) on Monday. Rybarikova won 6-2, 6-3, claiming the victory in just over an hour.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Novak Djokovic made a strong start to his Wimbledon preparations with a 6-2, 6-1 demolition of Australian qualifier John Millman at the Queen's Club yesterday.

The 31-year-old Serb, hampered by an elbow injury last year, has failed to reach the semi-finals in any of his last five Grand Slam appearances and is a lowly 22nd in the ATP rankings.

He lost in the French Open quarter-finals to Italian journeyman Marco Cecchinato just weeks ago.

With Wimbledon starting on July 2, Djokovic was desperate to improve his lacklustre 14-8 record in 2018.

And, in his first appearance at Queen's since 2010, he was quickly in the groove on grass as he romped to a first-round win in 65 minutes.

But a sterner test lies in wait in the second round where he will face last year's ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian world No. 5 beat Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 in his opening match.

Another player feeling his way back from injury was three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, who made light work of Britain's Cameron Norrie in the opening round on Monday, winning 6-2, 6-3.

"In general (the knee) has been improving week after week," Wawrinka, beaten in the first round of the French Open, said. "Now I feel really good on court, strong physically."

In Germany, defending champion Roger Federer continued his fine run on grass, beating Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round of the Halle Open.

The 36-year-old Swiss, who reclaimed the No. 1 ranking by winning the Stuttgart title last week, broke his 72nd-ranked opponent in the second game and maintained the advantage to claim the first set.

Federer dropped just eight points on his serve and was hardly troubled in the one-sided contest which took just over an hour.

Meanwhile, women's world No. 7 Karolina Pliskova's Wimbledon preparations suffered a setback in a 6-2, 6-3 defeat by Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in the opening round of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Monday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

ATP HALLE OPEN Day 3: StarHub Ch201, 6pm

ATP QUEEN'S CLUB C'SHIPS Day 3: StarHub Ch203, 7pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2018, with the headline 'Djokovic, Federer advance easily'. Print Edition | Subscribe