The 134th Wimbledon should have started today, with the defending champion Novak Djokovic and many others stepping on the sacred green courts. Instead, Wimbledon had to close the gates for the first time since 1945 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many former and current players sharing their memories from the most significant tennis event.
Jan-Lennard Struff is among them, recalling his 2018 campaign when he had to bounce back from two sets to love in the opening two matches, prevailing over Leonardo Mayer and Ivo Karlovic to set the clash against the defending champion Roger Federer.
Leonardo Mayer led 6-3, 7-6 against Struff who claimed the third and fourth sets in the tie break, gaining momentum and dominating in the decider to pass the first obstacle. After one challenging encounter, Jan-Lennard had to prepare for an even tougher one, ousting Ivo Karlovic 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 13-11 in just under four hours after fending off one match point.
It was an incredible battle with two breaks in total and more than 90 aces, with the German prevailing thanks to a late break in the fifth set and after another two sets to love deficit. World no. 2 and defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was among the player to beat at the most prestigious tennis event that year, reaching the fourth round for the 16th time (16-0 in the third-round matches) after a commanding 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 win over Struff in an hour and 34 minutes.
It was the record-breaking 175th ATP win for Roger on the grass in 200 encounters, passing Jimmy Connors who stayed on 174 and clinching another massive Open era record on his beloved surface.
It was Roger's 335th Major triumph and the 94th at Wimbledon, moving closer to that magical 100th one.
At that moment, Federer rattled off 29 consecutive sets at the All England Club, his second-longest streak after 2005-2006 when he had 34.
Like in the opening two encounters, Roger was the dominant figure on the court, never facing a break point and keeping the pressure on Jan-Lennard with 14 break chances on his tally, converting four to control the pace from start to finish.
Struff was powerless against the Swiss' first serve, unable to deal with Roger's sharp and aggressive shots or repeat a great match from the Australian Open when he stayed in touch with him despite losing in straight sets.
Federer claimed the opening two sets with a single break in each and seized two in the third to book the place in the last 32 in style. "Today, the 134th Championships would have started. Great memory playing against Roger Federer on Center Court in round three two years ago, especially after coming from two sets to love down in the opening rounds," said Jan-Lennard Struff.