Murray opens title defence with easy win, Nadal through

 04 Jul 2017 - 0:13

Murray opens title defence with easy win, Nadal through
Britain's Andy Murray runs to return to Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik during their men's singles first round match on the first day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships yesterday. Murray won the match 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

AFP

London:  Defending champion Andy Murray celebrated the news that he's about to become a father again by reaching the Wimbledon second round yesterday as fellow two-time winner Rafael Nadal aimed to clinch the 850th win of his career.
Top seed and world number one Murray downed Kazakh lucky loser Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, shrugging off two brief rain delays 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 number 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.
Rafael Nadal stormed into the second round as the world number two secured his 850th career victory with 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 defending champion Andy 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.
Having won the French Open without dropping a single set, Nadal has made a rare smooth transition to the grass of south-west London.
The 31-year-old Spaniard, beset by chronic knee problems, has struggled to adapt to the low bounce on grass in the latter stages of his career.
He hasn't been past the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2011, losing to players ranked outside the top 100 on each of his last four visits.
But after missing Wimbledon due to a wrist injury last season and opting against playing a grass-court event after Roland Garros, Nadal had the ideal opponent to get up and running.
Millman, ranked 137th, was playing only his second Tour-level match this year after missing five months with a hip injury.
He was no match for a rampant Nadal and the 15-time Grand Slam champion blitzed his way to victory with a barrage of his trademark top-spin forehands.
German world number 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.
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 United States, 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.