Novak Djokovic had it all his way on Monday as he reached the second round at the Wimbledon Championships 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 over Briton James Ward to begin his title defence in commanding style.
The number one raced away by winning the first nine games, then lost two in a row in the only competitive set of the match.
"I honestly didn't expect myself to start that well - nine games in a row, 6-0, 3-0," the top seed said. "It was just a matter of time when James would win his first game."
The Serb, who is looking for his fifth grand slam title on the trot, claimed victory in a shade over two hours with an ace on match point.
Ward, ranked 177th, now goes back to the Challenger ranks after his annual showing at the All England Club. The 29-year-old will be hit with a massive rankings drop of around 100 places after making a surprise third-round appearance a year ago.
Djokovic, who has only lost twice in 47 first-round matches at the majors, could not have been more pleased with his showing.
"For the first nine games, there was not much to say about my game. It was flawless and felt great. I put in a very solid performance."
Djokovic was charmed to open the fortnight as defending champion, with the winner's match always the first on Centre Court.
"This is the most unique experience in tennis, playing the first match on untouched grass on the first Monday. It is really special to feel this tradition and history."
Djokovic next faces Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who beat the day's second Briton, Kyle Edmund, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.
Japan's fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori beat Australian Sam Groth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, while sixth seed Milos Raonic, with advisor John McEnroe in his corner, started with a defeat of Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4.
2014 US Open winner and ninth seed Marin Cilic, seeded ninth, was knocked out by Brian Baker 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 while Belgian number 11 David Goffin stopped Alexander Ward of Britain 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Spanish 13th seed David Ferrer, who missed the event a year ago with an elbow injury, hammered Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 for a second-round spot.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France knocked out Stuttgart finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Ivo Karlovic won a match with fellow Croatian Borna Coric 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (9-7), 6-4.
Grigor Dimitrov stopped the rot in a six-match loss streak, defeating US qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3. 6-4, 6-2.
In women's play on a day forecast to likely be the only sunny one of what should become a wet week, 2015 finalist Garbine Muguruza battled for two and a half hours to overcome Italian Camila Giorgi 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
"This was a very tough first match and a difficult opponent," said the Spaniard, who lost to Serena Williams in the final a year ago.
"I like to play tough marches, this gets me into the tournament and gives me confidence. We all start from zero here, it is so much more difficult on grass."
Five-time winner Venus Williams, aged 36, proved her eighth seeding as she beat Croatian Donna Vekic, Croatia 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
Number nine Madison Keys advanced over German Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-1. Spanish 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro beat Zhang Shuai 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Ana Ivanovic fell victim to a wrist injury which bothered her in recent weeks and almost forced a pullout, going down to Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 6-2, 7-5.
"It was very hard to accelerate on my forehand. I tried to do everything possible to be fit and recover and tape it. During Mallorca tournament (a week ago) it really got inflamed.
"It start to calm down a little bit, but every time I would start hitting, it would flare up. I will rest until my next tournament, which is the Olympics."
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