While defending champion Andy Murray had a relatively comfortable start to his 2014 campaign at SW19, top seed Novak Djokovic was faced with an even easier opening round contest, where he lost a mere five games and offered up a bagel set in the process. He will next face Czech No. 2 Radek Stepanek in what should be a relatively tougher encounter on Wednesday.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic began his Wimbledon run in rapid fashion. He arrived on court with no intention of spending a minute more than necessary playing the match against Golubev. The Serb took the opening set 6-0, and looked well on his way to another bagel set when he extended his consecutive games streak to 11, but Golubev denied him the pleasure and grabbed his first game to put himself on the scoreboard at 1-5.
The third set was where Golubev appeared to have found his range and confidence, as he held three consecutive games, and offered Djokovic slightly more resistance during his service games. Ultimatley, he could not stop Djokovic from getting the late break to secure the win with a 6-4 score in the final set.
“It was a great start,” he said. “Obviously first official match on a grass court season this year. Coming into Wimbledon with no official matches, it always gives you an extra reason to get that commitment and focus from the start and try to play as best as you can, so that’s what I did. Very, very pleased with my performance overall today.”
Radek Stepanek secured entry into the second round of the Championships with a 62, 6-4, 6-4 win over Cuevas. He hit 10 aces, 2 double faults, as well as 36 winners to just 14 unforced errors. If he maintains this form tomorrow he may offer Djokovic somewhat of a struggle at portions of the match.
Djokovic leads Stepanek 10-1 in the head-to-head series, including the last nine consecutive matches dating back to 2007. This is only their second meeting on grass, as they met at this tournament in 2012, where Djokovic rallied from a set down to win the contest in four. While it is unlikely that the match will go that long this time around, it all depends on Djokovic’s form and his confidence in his wrist.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets