Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic advances to the second round at the All England Club. Novak beat young Korean Soonwoo Kwon 6-3, 3-6 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 27 minutes on Center Court. It was Novak's 80th win at Wimbledon in 90 meetings at the Cathedral of Tennis.
Djokovic didn't play at his usual level, yet he still did enough to topple a persistent opponent in four sets and open with victory. Both players had four service breaks, and Novak prevailed with a single service break in the fourth set.
Kwon got a break in the third game of the first set and built a 3-1 lead. Djokovic raised his level after that, hitting three solid at-bats and breaking in games six and eight to string together five straight games and take the first set 6-3.
Soonwoo was the better player in the second set, surviving a tough game and keeping the pressure on the other side with good shots, especially from his forehand. The Korean broke in the fourth game and fended off three break chances in the next to consolidate the lead and take home the set on serve from him at 5-3.
In one of the crucial moments, Novak fended off a break point opportunity at 2-2 in the third set with a gutsy second serve. Kwon only lost four points in the first four service games, and that all changed when Djokovic broke him at 4-3 to take the lead.
The Serb held 15 in the ninth game to close out the set and move closer to the finish. Novak survived three break points in the second game of the fourth set and served perfectly in the remaining games.
Djokovic won the Championships last year
"I've said this a few times before, but this court has always been special for me.
It's always been the court where I dreamed of playing and winning and all my childhood dreams came true on this court," Novak Djokovic said. "It's an absolute honor and pleasure to come back [here]."
The Serb, however, saw no reason to panic, commenting that it was only understandable since he came into SW19 without playing any lead-up tournaments on grass. "Credit to Kwon for playing some really high quality tennis.
He deserves the applause. Always starting the tournament, I didn't have any preparation tournaments, so I was always going to feel a little bit less comfortable," he said. "Particularly when playing against someone as talented as Kwon."