WIMBLEDON, England -- Returning to his favorite stage and resuming his dominant ways on grass, Roger Federer started his bid for a sixth consecutive Wimbledon title Monday by sweeping Dominik Hrbaty in straight sets on a sunbathed Centre Court.
|Serena Williams dispatches Kaia Kanepi in the first round. (AP)|
In keeping with tradition, Federer had the honor of opening play on the main stadium court as defending champion at the 122nd Wimbledon championships. He seemed right at home as he beat Hrbaty 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 for his 60th consecutive grass-court victory and 35th in a row at the All England Club.
"I played well. It was a good match against a good friend of mine," Federer said. "I was consistent all the way throughout. I didn't have to face a break point. It's good, but never easy to open Centre Court, but it's a real honor."
A few minutes before Federer closed out his match, Williams completed a harder-than-expected 7-5, 6-3 victory on Court 1 against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
Following Federer on Centre Court was Ivanovic, who beat Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay 6-1, 6-2 in less than an hour in her first match since winning the French Open and taking over the No. 1 ranking. The Serbian player never faced a break point and ripped 13 baseline winners.
"Coming as the top seed, lots of people just expect you to win," Ivanovic said. "You have to work hard, especially on grass. Everything is happening so fast."
Djokovic, the Australian Open champion who could face Federer in the semifinals, overcame a poor second set on Centre Court and beat Michael Berrer 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0. Djokovic dropped the last five games of the second set against the German left-hander, but won the next three games while dropping only one point and cruised the rest of the way.
Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 winner and only champion in the men's draw other than Federer, labored for 3½ hours to subdue Robin Haase in five sets, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 6-2. The 20th-seeded Australian, who has been slowed by a chronic hip injury, never lost serve and celebrated a key break in the fifth with a trademark flurry of uppercut fist pumps.
The man Hewitt beat in the 2002 final, David Nalbandian, was the highest seeded player -- at No. 7 -- to lose Monday, falling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to Canada's Frank Dancevic.
Federer, who loves the traditions of the game, walked onto Centre Court at 1 p.m. in retro fashion -- donning a herringbone-pattern, four-button cardigan with gold trim and a stylized F on a badge on his left chest. The insignia on the buttons represent his five Wimbledon titles.
Federer had worn classic white blazers at the last two Wimbledons.
"I thought two jackets was enough," he said. "Let's move on to something different. We thought about something nice, like a cardigan, a jumper. I think the result is nice."