Novak Djokovic finds himself for the seventh time in his career to inaugurate the day-1 program at Wimbledon's Center Court. The first with Soon-woo Kwon turns out to be decidedly more complicated than expected, however, for the Serbian champion, forced to recover a late break in the heart of the first set, but above all to go at least up to the fourth.
A praise also to the Korean who plays an absolutely fearless match against the six-time champion of the tournament, who scores 80 on the Wimbledon lawns and also becomes the first tennis player in history to win at least 80 games in all majors.
However, the 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 is emblematic. The winner of the match between Kokkinakis and Majchrzak awaits Djokovic in the second round. Neither of them has yet won a match at the Championships. The greyness that grips the London sky also has a considerable influence on Djokovic's performance at the first on Center Court.
The Serbian champion, not very incisive with his serve and decidedly negative with his forehand, finds himself chasing in the heart of the first set. The variations of Kwon - who among other things tries to considerably reduce the number of prolonged exchanges and who often takes time away from the six-time champion of the tournament - takes advantage of two rather gross errors and packs two extraordinary winners with the forehand in the two next fifteen.
Called to maintain a 3-1 lead, the Korean player begins to falter. Or rather, he doesn't stop Djokovic's comeback: calmer, more precise, but above all more patient. The Serbian restores the hierarchies with a mega-partial of 5-0 and puts his head forward.
Over? Not at all. Kwon doesn't make any particular changes to the script. On the contrary. He even takes a step towards the field in response, does not grant reference points from the baseline and even puts his nose often and willingly near the net so as not to get tangled in the network of prolonged exchanges.
The Korean delivers the decisive push at 2-1, recovers from 0-40 in the immediately following game and after the super comeback he manages in an extraordinary way. Even on 4-1 he faces 15-30. Djokovic tries to make improvements to the tactical plan.
At least to give more angles to shots from the baseline and above all to use the slice more frequently. Although in the fifth game - at 30-40 - he needs a second serve to hold on to the score. Kwon cuts the field in an extraordinary way, perfectly anticipates the opponent's shallow shots, but concedes something on 3-4.
Djokovic, even without resorting to the stroardinari, keeps his nerve and above all limits mistakes. The break is the background to a practically perfect bat that is worth 6-3. Djokovic after two hours of play shakes off the numbness accumulated in the first two sets.
Kwon faces 15-40 in the first round of response thanks to a splendid acceleration from the forehand from the center, but it is basically the last gasp of a giant match. The Korean, who wastes the first two break chances out of fear alone, gets a third thanks to another splendid forehand acceleration but fails to enter the exchange. For Djokovic the rest is all a completely necessary side dish, also seasoned with a 12-3 shot.