Novak Djokovic Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic reaches out to play a forehand during his first round win over James Ward at Wimbledon, June 27, 2016Reuters

Novak Djokovic got the Centre Court ball rolling at Wimbledon 2016 with a comfortable win over James Ward. The world number one, the overwhelming favourite to defend his title, and then some, and then a little more after that, was cruising after winning the first nine games of the match, and while there was a bit of a hiccup in the second half of the second set, the result was never in doubt.

This might not have been the ominous, unstoppable, unbeatable, impenetrable Djokovic, but the Serbian did what he had to do to see off the challenge of the home hope Ward 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 in two hours and two minutes.

With that wonderful, green lawn and a full crowd greeting him, Djokovic, the current holder of all four Grand Slams, got off to the perfect start, holding his first game to love, before breaking Ward in the next to jump to a 2-0 lead. Ward had an opportunity to break right back and get the first set back on serve, but the Brit, a little overawed by the occasion to begin with, despite the crowd backing him at every point, failed to take them, allowing Djokovic to ease to the first set without losing a game.

It looked like being another bagel set when Djokovic ran into a 3-0 lead, but Ward, refusing to just lay down and play dead, fought back, winning his first game of the match, to bring it back to 3-1. The celebrations after winning that first game said it all, hands aloft, in a manner which said, "phew, there you go, that is the monkey off my back, now let's see where we can go from here."

Where he went was a break of Djokovic's serve, with the second set going all the way to 5-5. With Djokovic serving to take a 6-5 lead, Ward, playing much more freely now, had a couple of break points to give himself an opportunity to serve for the set, but when it needed to, the Djokovic serve came to the rescue.

Ward held on to force the tie-break, and that is where Djokovic seemed to say, "alright now, the supporters have had their fun, it is time to get back to business." That business involved a near-faultless tie-break and with it a 2-0 lead in the match.

With the momentum back in his favour, there was no way Djokovic was going to allow Ward a way back into the match and while it wasn't as straightforward as the first set, a break in of the Brit's serve in the third game, ensured the defending champion would move into the second round of Wimbledon.

Results: First round: Women's singles: 15-Karolina Pliskova beat Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 0-6, 8-6; Mona Barthel beat Danka Kovinic 6-2, 7-6 (7-3); 22-Jelena Jankovic beat Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 6-2; Marina Erakovic beat Irina Falconi 4-6, 6-3, 10-8; Francesca Schiavone beat Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 (9-7), 6-4; 4-Angelique Kerber beat Laura Robson 6-2, 6-2; 26-Kiki Bertens beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2; Varvara Lepchenko beat Teliana Pereira 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2; 5-Simona Halep beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-4, 6-1; Misaki Doi beat Louisa Chirico 6-1, 6-2; 2-Garbine Muguruza beat Camila Giorgi 6-2, 5-7, 6-4; 17-Elina Svitolina beat Naomi Broady 6-2, 6-3; Yaroslava Shvedova beat Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-4; 12-Carla Suarez Navarro beat Zhang Shuai 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; 28-Lucie Safarova beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5; Alize Cornet beat Polona Hercog 6-3, 6-0; Denisa Allertova beat Margarita Gasparyan 6-3, 3-0 (Gasparyan retired); 9-Madison Keys beat Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-1; 8-Venus Williams beat Donna Vekic 7-6 (7-3), 6-4; Ekaterina Alexandrova beat 23-Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 7-5; 20-Sara Errani beat Patricia Tig 6-4, 6-4; Kirsten Flipkens beat Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 6-1; Samantha Crawford beat Paula Kania 7-5, 6-3; Anna-Lena Friedsam beat Zarina Diyas 6-4, 6-0; Kurumi Nara beat Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3; Lara Arruabarrena Vecino (Spain) Olga Govortsova 6-2, 1-6, 8-6; Maria Sakkari beat Zheng Saisai 6-3, 6-2; Jana Cepelova beat Mariana Duque 7-5, 7-5; 14-Samantha Stosur beat Magda Linette 7-5, 6-3; Carina Witthoeft beat 25-Irina Begu 6-1, 6-4; Sabine Lisicki beat Shelby Rogers 6-1, 6-3; 29-Darya Kasatkina beat Victoria Duval 6-0, 7-5.

Men's singles: Andrey Kuznetsov beat 29-Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; 3-Roger Federer beat Guido Pella 7-6 (7-5), 7-6(7-3), 6-3; Jeremy Chardy beat 17-Gael Monfils 6-7 (4-7), 6-0, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2; Daniel Evans beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (9-7), 7-5; Robin Haase beat Diego Schwartzman 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5; Steve Johnson beat Malek Jaziri 7-5, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4; 27-Jack Sock beat Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; Marcus Willis beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-3, 6-4; Thomaz Bellucci beat Ruben Bemelmans 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 8-6; 5-Kei Nishikori beat Samuel Groth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5; Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Teymuraz Gabashvili 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; 6-Milos Raonic beat Pablo Carreno 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4; 30-Alexandr Dolgopolov beat Evgeny Donskoy 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3); Julien Benneteau beat Illya Marchenko 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (10-8); 16-Gilles Simon beat Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3; Andreas Seppi beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-4, 6-0; Denis Istomin beat 20-Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-7 (13-15), 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3; 28-Sam Querrey beat Lukas Rosol 6-7 (6-8), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-2, 12-10; 11-David Goffin beat Alexander Ward 6-2, 6-3, 6-2; Nicolas Mahut beat Brydan Klein 7-6 (7-0), 6-4, 6-4; Grigor Dimitrov beat Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; 1-Novak Djokovic beat James Ward 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4; Damir Dzumhur beat Denis Kudla 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 2-6, 1-6, 6-3; Nicolas Almagro beat Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3 ,7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 3-6, 6-3; Lukas Lacko beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-3; 13-David Ferrer beat Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-1, 6-1; 23-Ivo Karlovic beat Borna Coric 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (9-7), 6-4; Adrian Mannarino beat Kyle Edmund 6-2, 7-5, 6-4; Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat 21-Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; 9-Marin Cilic beat Brian Baker 6-3, 7-5, 6-3; Sergiy Stakhovsky beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

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