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Wins for Nadal, Federer and Murray
30 Jun 2015 21:09
Rafa Nadal might have been condemned to a lowly 10th seeding at Wimbledon but he remains a floater everyone will want to avoid after getting his campaign off to an impressive start with a straight-sets dismissal of Thomaz Bellucci. The twice champion, who has slipped down the sport's pecking order after 18 months of injury and below-par performances, showed glimpses of his power and determination in a 6-4 6-2 6-4 win over Brazil's Bellucci on a sun-drenched Number One Court. If the draw goes to plan Nadal will have to get past Andy Murray and Roger Federer to earn a shot at a third title, potentially against top seed Novak Djokovic in the final. Those mouth-watering match-ups would be certain to be tighter than today's encounter, though it would have a surprise if it had been anything else. Through his eight-year career Bellucci had played 306 matches, exactly split between victories and defeats, but it has always been one-way traffic against Nadal. The two had met five times previously and the nearest the Brazilian came to taking a set was when he forced a tiebreak -- which he lost to love -- during his first-round defeat at Wimbledon three years ago. Nadal had warmed up for this year's tournament by winning on the grass of Stuttgart, though he went out in the first round at Queens. Bellucci has been allergic to grass for four years, failing to win a single match on the surface since 2011. Nadal initially struggled to calibrate his forehand and was wayward with his serving but he eventually settled and began smashing Bellucci into submission with his heavyweight backhand. The Brazilian must have known it was not to be his day when, fighting to stay in the first set, he allowed an under-hit Nadal lob to bounce and planted his smash into the net from two metres. The crowd gasped in sympathy and duly accorded him a very British ovation when he responded to the gaffe with an ace on his next serve. It was all a mere diversion, however, as Nadal warmed to his task, with the full repertoire of grunting, shorts-fiddling, headband-adjusting and hair-stroking ticks on display. The match fell into a pattern of Bellucci holding his own early in the rallies before finding himself stretched and eventually beaten by Nadal's superior power and accuracy. It reached its natural conclusion in just over two hours, the ideal preparation for Nadal as he attempts to nurse his battered 29-year-old body through two gruelling weeks.
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Federer began his 63rd consecutive grand slam tournament with a majestic 6-1 6-3 6-3 first-round win over little-known Bosnian Damir Dzumhur. The Swiss second seed's pursuit of a record eighth title at the All England Club could not have started more convincingly as he broke the Wimbledon debutant five times to draw rapturous applause from the Federer faithfuls who had flocked to see their hero on Centre Court. The 33-year-old started off with an unreturnable serve, threw in some crowd-pleasing volleys before f-inishing off Dzumhur with a love service game to chalk up his 74th victory at the citadel of grasscourt tennis. The world number two will next face either Dutchman Igor Sijsling or big-serving American Sam Querrey.
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Andy Murray's bid for a second Wimbledon title got off to the perfect start as the Scot booked his place in round two with a straight-sets victory over Mikhail Kukushkin.
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Kukushkin, ranked 59th in the world, has never been past the third round at the All England Club but the Kazakh offered a stiff examination for Murray, who came through 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 on Centre Court.
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Murray will now play either Holland's Robin Haase or Colombian Alejandro Falla in the second round.
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Kyle Edmund's wait to break into the world's top 100 goes on after the young Briton slipped out of Wimbledon, with Alexandr Dolgopolov victorious 7-6 (7/4) 6-1 6-2.
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Britain's world number 101 Edmund was just unable to edge his ranking to double-figures after reaching the second round at the French Open.
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The 20-year-old would certainly have achieved that big goal by reaching the second round at SW19, but was unable to overcome his Ukrainian opponent.
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Dolgopolov dumped Rafael Nadal out of this year's Queen's Club, and continued that fine form by easing past Edmund without issue.
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Edmund's third first-round defeat in a row at Wimbledon leaves him still waiting for that maiden senior victory at London's grand slam tournament.
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Brydan Klein became the second British player to bow out on day two as he lost on Court 18 to Italian 25th seed Andreas Seppi.
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Australian-born Klein, who has been competing as a Briton since 2003, was resoundingly outplayed by Seppi who coasted to a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory.
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