Murray, Nadal, Venus ease through at Wimbledon

LONDON: Defending champion Andy Murray celebrated the news that he’s about to become a father again by reaching the Wimbledon second round on Monday as fellow two-time winner Rafael Nadal clinched the 850th win of his career.

Top seed and world No 1 Murray downed Kazakh lucky loser Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, shrugging off two brief rain delays on day one of the championships and showing little sign of the hip problem which had plagued him in the build-up.

“I have felt OK the last few days and the adrenaline you feel by playing a match numbs any pain you may have,” said the British star after seeing off world No 134 Bublik who was making his grass court debut. “Bublik is a bit of a character. He’s a bit different from other players, tries different shots and the crowd enjoyed the way he plays.”

Murray, whose baby daughter Sophia was born last year, next faces Dustin Brown, the man who knocked out Nadal two years ago.

German world No 97 Brown came back from a set and a break down to beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4.

Nadal stormed ahead as the world No 2 completed a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 demolition of Australia’s John Millman.

Fresh from winning his 10th French Open title last month, Nadal marked his 50th match at Wimbledon by crushing Millman in one hour and 46 minutes on Court One.

The two-time Wimbledon champion is just the seventh player to reach the 850-win mark, joining Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Guillermo Villas.

With 217 Grand Slam match victories, Nadal is now in sixth place on the all-time list at the majors.

Nadal, seeded to face Murray in the semi-finals, will play Donald Young for a place in the last 32 as he bids to win Wimbledon for the first time since 2010.

Nick Kyrgios, who shocked Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014, won’t get another opportunity.

The combustible 20th seeded Australian was 6-3, 6-4 down to France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert when he called it quits on Court Three after failing to shake off the hip injury which has plagued him in recent weeks.

Kei Nishikori, the Japanese ninth seed, beat Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 in just 72 minutes.

French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, twice a semi-finalist, eased past British wild card Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Sam Querrey of the US, who stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round last year and precipitated the Serb’s slide from the top, also made the second round.

The 24th seed saw off Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 6-2.

Women’s second seed Simona Halep, blasted off court in the French Open final by Jelena Ostapenko, downed New Zealand qualifier Marina Erakovic 6-4, 6-1.

Halep, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2014, next faces Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maria.

Venus Williams marked her 20th Wimbledon anniversary with a 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 win against Belgium’s Elise Mertens.

The 37-year-old five-time champion arrived in London facing a wrongful death suit after she was involved in a fatal car crash in Florida.

An elderly man in the other vehicle suffered head injuries in the collision and died on June 22.

Williams will face China’s Wang Qiang for a place in the last 32.

A smiling Petra Kvitova skipped into the second round, the twice champion beating Johanna Larsson 6-3 6-4 on a sun-bathed Centre Court.

Playing only her third event of the year after recovering from a knife attack in December, the Czech 11th seed used her swinging serve to great effect on the main showcourt, signing off with a heavy ace.

Monday’s results (prefix number denotes seeding):

Men’s singles:

First round: Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukraine) bt Julien Benneteau (France) 6-3, 7-6 (10-8), 2-6, 6-2; 14-Lucas Pouille (France) bt Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2); 4-Rafa Nadal (Spain) bt John Millman (Australia) 6-1, 6-3, 6-2; 7-Marin Cilic (Croatia) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) 6-4, 6-2, 6-3; Peter Gojowczyk (Germany) bt Marius Copil (Romania) 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 6-3, 6-1; Andreas Seppi (Italy) bt Norbert Gombos (Slovakia) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1; Kevin Anderson (South Africa) bt 31-Fernando Verdasco (Spain) 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (10-8), 6-3; Donald Young (US) bt Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 4-2 — Istomin retired; Florian Mayer (Germany) bt Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 6-1, 0-0 — Troicki retired; 18-Roberto Bautista (Spain) bt Andreas Haider-Maurer (Austria) 6-3, 6-1, 6-2; 1-Andy Murray (Britain) bt Alexander Bublik (Kazakhstan) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; Thiago Monteiro (Brazil) bt Andrew Whittington (Australia) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5); 9-Kei Nishikori (Japan) bt Marco Cecchinato (Italy) 6-2, 6-2, 6-0; 30-Karen Khachanov (Russia) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (Russia) 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2; Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) bt Denis Shapovalov (Canada) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2); Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) bt Carlos Berlocq (Argentina) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1; Benoit Paire (France) bt Rogerio Dutra Silva (Brazil) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (12-10), 6-4; Simone Bolelli (Italy) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4; 24-Sam Querrey (US) bt Thomas Fabbiano (Italy) 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 6-2; Dustin Brown (Germany) bt Joao Sousa (Portugal) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4; 12-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) bt Cameron Norrie (Britain) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Pierre-Hugues Herbert (France) bt 20-Nick Kyrgios (Australia) 6-3, 6-4 — Kyrgios retired.

Women’s singles:

First round: Naomi Osaka (Japan) beat Sara Sorribes Tormo (Spain) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3);11-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) bt Johanna Larsson (Sweden) 6-3, 6-4; Maria Sakkari (Greece) bt Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) 6-3, 6-4; Carina Witthoeft (Germany) bt 26-Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (Croatia) 6-3, 5-7, 8-6; Kristyna Pliskova (Czech Republic) bt 31-Roberta Vinci (Italy) 7-6 (8-6), 6-2; 22-Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) bt Veronica Cepede Royg (Paraguay) 6-3, 6-3; 4-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) bt Ashleigh Barty (Australia) 7-5, 7-6 (10-8); Francesca Schiavone (Italy) bt Mandy Minella (Luxembourg) 6-1, 6-1; 10-Venus Williams (US) bt Elise Mertens (Belgium) 7-6 (9-7), 6-4; 2-Simona Halep (Romania) bt Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) 6-4, 6-1; Camila Giorgi (Italy) bt Alize Cornet (France) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4; Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) bt Irina Khromacheva (Russia) 6-3, 6-4; 17-Madison Keys (US) bt Nao Hibino (Japan) 6-4, 6-2; Wang Qiang (China) bt Chang Kai-Chen (Taiwan) 6-3, 6-4; Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil) bt Laura Robson (Britain) 6-4, 6-2.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2017

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