LONDON – Defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia on Monday kicked off his Wimbledon run in an auspicious fashion by defeating Philip Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.
Making his first appearance since losing to Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the French Open semifinal, Djokovic took two hours and three minutes to improve his head-to-head record against the German player to 11-2.
In their fourth 2019 clash, Djokovic had to recover from a slow start in both the first and second sets, but he eventually proved to be more than Kohlschreiber can handle.
Under the watchful eye of Croatian coach Goran Ivanisevic – whom he hired for the tournament – Djokovic lost his first service game, but then he stormed into a 4-1 lead, with two service breaks included.
That was enough for Djokovic to take a one-set lead a few games later as both players served out the rest of the set.
The beginning of the second set was a carbon copy, with the Serb recovering immediately in the third game from a break.
Then both players held serve in the following few games till the 11th game, when Djokovic dealt his opponent a final blow in the set by breaking his serve and then the Serb efficiently served for the set.
During the third set, Djokovic earned a further two service breaks to get past the German.
Next up for Djokovic will be Denis Kudla of the United States, who prevailed over Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
In other first-round action, Kevin Anderson of South Africa, the 2018 Wimbledon runner-up, defeated Frenchman Pierre Hugues-Herbert 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 49 minutes.
Anderson, the fourth seed, is scheduled to take on Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, who battled past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
Meanwhile, three-time Grand Slam champion Stanislas Wawrinka of the Switzerland took one hour and 27 minutes to get past Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Wawrinka, who has yet to win at the All England Club, is scheduled to square off against Reilly Opelka of the United States, who defeated Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.