Federer fends off plucky Pella to reach Wimbledon round two
Seven-time champion Roger Federer battled his way past the spirited Guido Pella 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to book a second-round spot at Wimbledon on Monday.
Federer has not lifted the men's title at the All England Club for four years and had suffered surprise losses to Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem in the build-up to the grand slam following his recovery from a back injury that prevented him playing at the French Open.
But, despite Pella's ability to stay in a rally, Federer had too much for his opponent on their first competitive meeting, his all-round court quality enabling him to secure a hard-fought straight-sets win.
The 34-year-old was on the attack from the outset on Centre Court with his forehand a particularly impressive weapon that Pella struggled to contend with.
Federer struggled with his usually trademark elegant backhand early on, but in the second set tie-break a crisp shot down the line brought it to life.
That helped Federer on his way to a two-set lead, something that seemed to dent Pella's resolve and a couple of crushing forehands secured the Swiss a first break at the ninth attempt and a 5-3 lead in the third.
And Federer served out the match to love to bring an end to a contest that lasted two hours and five minutes.
Federer next faces British qualifier Marcus Willis, the 25-year-old - who is the lowest ranked qualifier in a major second round since 1988 - delighted a partisan crown on Court 17 with a shock 6-3 6-3 6-4 beating of Ricardas Berankis.
Roger Federer  beat Guido Pella 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3
Federer - 51/18
Pella - 23/10
Federer - 12
Pella - 5
BREAK POINTS WON
Federer - 1/9
Pella - 0/0
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Federer - 64
Pella - 63
PERCENTAGE POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Federer - 88/68
Pella - 67/61
Federer - 118
Pella - 95