Milos Raonic cruises to victory in Wimbledon opener
Defending champion Roger Federer advances in straight sets
Canada's Milos Raonic is through to the second round at Wimbledon.
The Thornhill, Ont., product cruised to a 7-5, 6-0, 6-1 victory over Britain's Liam Broady in first-round play at the All England Club Monday.
Raonic, seeded 13th at the Grand Slam tournament despite his No. 32 ATP ranking, used his powerful serve to dispatch his opponent, firing 18 aces to Broady's four.
He converted on 6-of-11 break points while winning all his service games.
"I did a lot of things well," said Raonic.
"Once I sort of — obviously, I expected to be tight the first set ... I needed a moment just to free up once I got that break. He got a little bit tight on that 5-5 game or 5-6, and after, that I freed up and I thought I played really well."
Raonic's Wimbledon future was called into question when he pulled out of the Queen's Club grass-court tennis tournament with a right pectoral strain two weeks ago.
He also missed the last Grand Slam when he sat out the French Open with an undisclosed injury.
Once No. 3 in the world, Raonic has seen his ranking plummet over the last couple of years because of a litany of injuries.
However, the 27-year-old said he feels optimistic about his health going forward.
"I feel my body's allowing me to play and hopefully that continues for a very long time," said Raonic.
Peter Polansky, also of Thornhill, lost his first-round match 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7) to Austria's Dennis Novak earlier Monday.
Canada's top ranked player, Richmond Hill, Ont., teen Denis Shapovalov at No. 26, opens his Wimbledon tournament Tuesday against France's Jeremy Chardy. Unseeded Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver takes on Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan also Tuesday while Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., plays British wild card Gabriella Taylor in her main-draw opener.
Federer takes charge
Meanwhile, Roger Federer began his title defence in style at the All England Club, brushing aside Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 in 79 minutes on Centre Court.
Lajovic held serve in the opening game but that was as good as it got for the 58th-ranked Serb. Federer reeled off the next nine games to take charge and was in cruise control for the rest of the match.
The 36-year-old Swiss star never faced a break point and showed off the full repertoire of shots that has made him the most successful male player at Wimbledon.
The only things unfamiliar about Federer were his clothes. He wore a Uniqlo outfit for the first time after ending his career-long apparel partnership with Nike. But it clearly had no effect on his game.
Smooth sailing for Cilic
Last year's runner-up Marin Cilic also advanced easily with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka.
The third-seeded Croatian hit 21 aces and 44 winners — compared to one ace and six winners for Nishioka — to complete victory in one hour 46 minutes.
American Sam Querrey, who lost to Cilic in the semifinals last year, had a similarly comfortable start as he beat Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
"Felt right at home again, so that was a really nice feeling," he said. "I got the early break in each set and then was able to bring it home. I'm really happy with my focus as well, point-for-point mentality."
Early exit for Stephens
In women's play, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens became the first contender to go out as she lost 6-1, 6-3 to Donna Vekic of Croatia.
The fourth-seeded Stephens produced an error-strewn display on No. 1 Court as she exited in the opening round for a second consecutive year.
Having backed up her 2017 U.S. Open triumph by reaching the French Open final last month, Stephens was considered a title hopeful.
Last year's semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova also exited, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Serena triumphant in return
Serena Williams needed six match points to finish off a 7-5, 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and reach the second round.
Williams broke for a 5-3 lead in the second set and led 40-15 when serving for the match, but Rus saved the first two match points and then another three after reaching deuce. However, Rus finally sent a shot into the net to give Williams a winning return to the All England Club.
The seven-time champion missed last year's tournament while pregnant.
With files from The Associated Press