LONDON -- In one of Wimbledon's greatest upsets, an ailing Rafael Nadal was knocked out in straight sets Monday by a player ranked 135th -- the Spaniard's first loss in the opening round of a Grand Slam event.
Steve Darcis of Belgium stunned the two-time champion 7-6 (4), 7-6 (
, 6-4. He ended Nadal's 22-match winning streak and eliminated one of the Big Four of men's tennis on the very first day of the grass-court Grand Slam.
Nadal was sidelined for seven months with a left knee injury after losing in the second round of Wimbledon last year. He seemed to be struggling physically. He was unable to turn on the speed or use his legs to spring into his groundstrokes, limping and failing to run for some shots.
Roger Federer, meanwhile, showed no signs of struggled. Ten years after his first Wimbledon championship, Federer began his bid for a record eighth Wimbledon title with the same dominance that has defined his grass-court greatness.
Opening the tournament on Centre Court as defending champion, Federer looked right as home as he dismantled Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 in just 68 minutes.
Sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France eased into the second round with a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3 win over David Goffin of Belgium.
Tsonga served 18 aces and hit 48 winners on Court 2.
Marathon man John Isner finished a quick Grand Slam match for a change, beating 66th-ranked Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 6-1, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2).
In his attempt to join Bjorn Borg (1978-80) as the only players in the Open era to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year three different times, Rafael Nadal came up short in his first match against unheralded Steve Darcis.
A year after stunning Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, Lukas Rosol lost his first-round match against a qualifier ranked 121st.
Rosol, who came in ranked 35th, was beaten 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 Monday by Germany's Julian Reister.
The 6-foot-9 Isner, who is seeded 18th, had 22 aces with just one double-fault. He didn't face a break point.
The match took only 1 hour, 43 minutes -- a far cry from Isner's record-breaking 11-plus-hour, 70-68 fifth-set victory over Nicolas Mahut in the first round at the All England Club in 2010.
Isner has left each of his past five Grand Slam tournaments with five-set defeats, including at the French Open on June 1, when he saved 12 match points against Tommy Haas before losing the 13th.
Federer offered a grass-court clinic. He had 32 winners, seven aces and just six unforced errors. He won 90 percent of the points when he put his first serve in.
When his serve is clicking, Federer usually is unbeatable. On this day, he won 15 of his first service points and 24 out of the first 25.
The Rosol-Reister match was on tiny Court 19, a short walk away from Centre Court, where the then 100th-ranked Rosol pulled off a surprising five-set victory over two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal in 2012's second round. Nadal then took a seven-month break from the tour because of a left knee injury.
Against Reister, Rosol played the same sort of high-risk game he used so successfully against Nadal. This time, Rosol was not nearly as accurate, accumulating 74 unforced errors, 30 more than Reister.
Last year, Federer equaled Pete Sampras and William Renshaw with seven Wimbledon titles. He is now contending to become the first man to win the tournament eight times, which would bring his total of Grand Slam titles to 18.
In keeping with tradition, Federer had the honor of playing the first match on the sport's biggest stage as the reigning men's champion. This was the seventh time he strode out first on Centre Court.
"It's slightly different," he said. "Nine years ago when I came out the first time, it was the most special thing in the world. It still feels amazing. It was an absolute pleasure playing on Centre Court."
Federer came out wearing a white collared jacket with orange trim, then quickly got down to business. He never faced a break point and broke six times.
Federer has a habit of making things look easy. And so it was in the opening game when, stranded at the net, he reached behind him for a reflex forehand volley that landed in for a winner. In the third set, Federer lifted a perfect backhand lob over the 6-foot-6 Hanescu for a break and a 5-0 lead.