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Novak Djokovic gets Wimbledon started with easy win

LONDON -- Novak Djokovic won the first nine games, then held firm the rest of the way as he opened his bid for a third straight Wimbledon title and fifth straight Grand Slam championship with a straight-sets win over Britain's James Ward on Monday.

In keeping with tradition, Djokovic played the first match on Centre Court as the men's defending champion, and he came through 6-0, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in just over two hours to extend his Grand Slam winning streak to 29 matches.

"This is probably the most unique experience in tennis playing as the defending champion in Wimbledon -- untouched grass, first match, 1 o'clock Monday," Djokovic said. "It's really special to feel this tradition and history, to come back to the cradle of our sport. It was a wonderful experience."

Djokovic holds all four Grand Slam titles. Having won the Australian Open and French Open, he's also seeking to become the first man to win the first three legs of a calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver swept all four majors in 1969.

Djokovic looked right back at home Monday as he ran off the first nine games against Ward, ranked 177th in the world and granted a wild-card entry into the grass-court Grand Slam.

"Not much to say about my game, it was really flawless, I felt great," Djokovic said of the early going.

When Ward finally won a game, hitting a service winner to make it 3-1 in the second set, the Briton threw up his arm in mock triumph and basked in a loud ovation from the home crowd. Ward broke in the next game and the two players went to a tiebreaker, which Djokovic dominated to reassert control.

"Nerves kicked in for James, obviously, but he started playing better, second part of the second set and it was very close," Djokovic said. "It wasn't easy to break his serve."

Roger Federer also returned to Grand Slam action -- and he is back to his winning ways.

The owner of seven Wimbledon titles and 17 major championships overall did not exactly have an easy time of things, but he did beat 52nd-ranked Guido Pella of Argentina 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Federer missed the French Open, withdrawing before it began last month because of a lingering back injury. That ended the 34-year-old Swiss star's record streak of 65 consecutive appearances at majors.

In the second round, Federer will face 772nd-ranked British qualifier Marcus Willis.

"I think it's one of the best stories in a long time in our sport," Federer said of Willis' victory Monday. "This is the kind of stories we need in our sport. ... I'm very excited to be playing him actually. It's not something that I get to do very often. I'm looking forward to that.

"... This match is different. It's picked up on momentum. People will hear about it. People will know about it. Naturally they're going to support him -- rightfully so, because I think it's a very cool story myself. It's going to make the match difficult."

In another match, Sam Querrey came all the way back after losing the first two sets to pull out a 12-10 victory in the fifth and reach the second round.

The 28th-seeded American ended the match with his 33rd ace, beating Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-7 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 12-10.

Querrey hasn't been as far as the third round at the All England Club since 2012.

Among the seeded men who advanced: No. 5 Kei Nishikori, No. 6 Milos Raonic, No. 9 Marin Cilic, No. 11 David Goffin, No. 13 David Ferrer, No. 16 Gilles Simon, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic and No. 27 Jack Sock.

The first seeded player ousted was No. 21 Philipp Kohlschreiber, who fell in four sets to Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Kevin Anderson, a South African seeded 20th, lost later in five sets to Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in a match that lasted more than 3 1/2 hours.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.