Wimbledon 2010 was supposed to have an uneventful start. The Wimbledon 2010 opening day doesn’t usually have big names exit Wimbledon that early – least of all the likes of Roger Federer. Although he had finally missed a Grand Slam semifinal last month at the French Open, Federer wasn’t so far down that he could lose in the first round. As it turned out, he wasn’t, but perhaps he was lucky not to. Despite advancing to round two, Wimbledon 2010 came very close to losing one of its biggest stars on day one.
Virtually the entire tennis world expects Federer and Rafael Nadal to face in a Fourth of July final. Even if Nadal doesn’t get that far, Federer hasn’t missed a Wimbledon final since 2002, so his position seems secure. But, of all people, it was Alejandro Falla who nearly sent him out of Wimbledon 2010.
Falla is the 60th ranked player in the world, so Federer wasn’t facing a lowly wild card. Yet, Falla defied all expectation just by winning the opening set 7-5. Getting one set over the world’s former No. 1 is rare enough, to say nothing of winning the first two. Things looked to return to normal after Federer won the third set, 6-4, yet he fell behind once again in the fourth.
With Falla ahead 5-4 and serving for the match, the Wimbledon 2010 tournament suddenly faced the very real prospect of Federer leaving. However, after holding out for almost four sets, Falla suddenly collapsed under the pressure. Federer broke him to break even, forced a tiebreaker, and then was never challenged again. After winning the tiebreaker by 7-1, Federer completely swept the fifth set and escaped.
The Wimbledon 2010 opening match was expected to be a breeze for the champion, and it was – but only after he was on the brink of elimination. Despite his rally, it only puts more doubt on whether he can win his seventh title here. He already slipped to No. 2 in the world after getting upset at the French Open, but he still got the top seed anyway – which was due more to past performances than present ones.
There was doubt about Federer after he lost the 2008 tournament, yet he rallied back to dominate tennis again in no time. Perhaps this early Wimbledon 2010 scare is what he needs to dominate again as well. Second round opponent Ilia Bozoljac might now have to pay for Federer’s mistakes, since he needs a good blowout or two to quiet down his critics.
Wimbledon 2010 almost lost its biggest draw, but this match could still be a mere bump in the road – or a harbinger of a future upset to come.
Associated Press- “Roger Federer escapes major upset at Wimbledon”
The Guardian- “Roger Federer survives scare but wolves are circling”