LONDON – Marcus Willis’ Wimbledon fairytale came to an end today against Roger Federer, but the British qualifier’s 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 defeat couldn’t ruin a day to remember for the new star of the All England Club.
Willis has captivated the tennis world with his rags to riches rise and although the world No 772 was unable to spring what would have been Wimbledon’s greatest upset, he enjoyed every minute of his unlikely second round meeting with world No 3 Federer.
The 25-year-old hit 24 winners, served nine aces and twice came within a whisker of breaking Federer, all while displaying the effervescent personality that has made him such a fan favourite.
Federer will play Dan Evans or Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round.
British No 1 Johanna Konta won her first Wimbledon match at the fifth attempt, seeing off Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig 6-1, 7-5 after a rain delay.
Konta, who was ranked 126th in the world at last year’s tournament, has risen quickly up the tennis ladder and was seeded 16 this year.
Puig settled better after the rain interruption, holding her serve at the resumption in the fourth game of the second set from 40-15 up, and immediately breaking Konta in a match that started on Tuesday.
But Konta regrouped to break back in the eighth game and then again to claim victory in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at Court 1.
Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem took sweet revenge on unseeded Florian Mayer, dodging the showers to dispatch the veteran German 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in just over one-and-a-half hours of cut-and-thrust tennis today.
Mixing his trademark power groundstrokes with drop shots and deft touches at the net, the 22-year-old No 8 seed broke his opponent once in each set in a first-round match that was twice interrupted by rain.
Mayer, 32, beat the Austrian in their last grass court encounter – the semi-finals of the Halle tournament earlier this month, which the German went on to win.
Thiem wrapped things up on his first match point when Mayer hit a service return long, the Austrian having benefited earlier in the game from a service ace that Hawkeye showed had just clipped the centre line.
Novak Djokovic brushed past France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) to book his place in the third round of Wimbledon.
The defending champion, aiming for his third consecutive title, played well within himself and was rarely troubled during the second-round match.
Mannarino, ranked 55, put up spirited resistance in the third set to force a tiebreak but was ultimately swept off Centre Court by the Serbian’s laser-guided groundstrokes.
World No 1 Djokovic holds all four grand slam titles and has another historic mark in his sights.
The 29-year-old is aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to achieve the calendar grand slam – winning the four majors in a single season. At the Rio Olympics in August, he could also chart a course toward becoming the first man to achieve the so-called “golden slam”, which Steffi Graf achieved in 1988.
With rain halting play everywhere except Centre Court at Wimbledon, No 3 seed Agnieska Radwanska was ready to become an armchair fan after her 6-2, 6-1 first-round win over Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova.
Their delayed match survived the cull after being moved on to the roof-covered showcourt, opening play before defending champion Novak Djokovic and Swiss great Roger Federer took to the stage.