/ Tennis

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic make no mistake in Wimbledon openers

Updated: Monday, 23 Jun 2014 21:22 | Comments

Andy Murray faces Slovenian left-hander Blaz Rola in the second game of his title defence
Andy Murray faces Slovenian left-hander Blaz Rola in the second game of his title defence

Andy Murray began the defence of his Wimbledon title with a standing ovation and left Centre Court to another one after a straightforward first-round win over David Goffin.

And his opening match on Centre Court proved to be the perfect way to calm the butterflies for Murray as the third seed wrapped up a 6-1 6-4 7-5 victory in two hours and two minutes.

In his second-round match on Wednesday, Murray will play Slovenian world number 92 Blaz Rola.

Much has changed in the Scot’s world since his Wimbledon win. His decision to undergo back surgery last September has contributed to his failure to win a title or even reach a final. He also split from coach Ivan Lendl in March, replacing the Czech with Amelie Mauresmo.

But on the pristine court all was much the same as Murray quelled his nerves to ease into a 3-0 lead against Goffin, a talented but rather lightweight player ranked 105.

Alarm bells were sounded when Murray lost in the third round at Queen's but he played some of the best clay-court tennis of his life on his way to the semi-finals of the French Open earlier this month and was striking the ball crisply here.

A lovely top-spin lob gave him another break of serve to lead 5-1 and he took his first set point when Goffin could not handle a big serve.

The Belgian's biggest achievement was reaching the fourth round at the French Open in 2012 and pushing his boyhood hero Roger Federer to four sets.

But he had lost his last seven grand slam matches, admittedly not helped by some very tough draws.

Murray moved ahead early in the second set as well, breaking for 2-1, and then clinched it with his third ace.

The crowd had been largely fairly quiet as Murray cruised through the match but they roused themselves as Goffin made a big effort at the start of the third set.

The Belgian brought up his first two break points in the fourth game but Murray was rock solid in saving them both.

It looked like Goffin would force a tie-break at least when he led 40-0 at 5-5 but Murray won the next five points to leave himself serving for the match.

He trailed 0-30 but fought back and a wayward Goffin forehand at the end of a long rally gave him a first match point, which he took with an ace.

Number one seed Novak Djokovic waltzed into the second round after he brushed aside Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan in straight sets on Centre Court.

After taking the first two sets 6-0 and 6-1 in just 47 minutes, the Serbian - beaten by Murray in the final here last year  - was at least stretched by the world number 56, before closing out the match 6-4 in the third.

Queen's Club champion Grigor Dimitrov maintained the momentum from his Aegon Championships victory with a 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-2 win over American Ryan Harrison.

The 11th-seeded Bulgarian, tipped as a dark horse to challenge for Murray's title, was was ranked world number one as a junior and won the 2008 boys’ title at the All England Club.

Elsewhere on day one, 18th seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain lost to Australian Marinko Matosevic, with the 2013 Wimbledon quarter-finalist going out in four sets, 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2.

On Court Two, sixth seed Tomas Berdych came back from losing the first set to beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-7 (7/5) 6-1 6-4 6-3.

Ernests Gulbis, the 12th seed from Latvia, beat Estonia Jurgen Zopp 7-6 (9/7) 7-5 7-6 (12/10), while Australian Bernard Tomic came through in straight sets against Russian Evgeny Donskoy, 6-4 6-3 6-2.

However, number 25 seed Andreas Seppi of Italy lost 6-3 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.

British wild-card James Ward went down in straight sets to Mikhail Youzhny, the 17th seed from Russia.

Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus also went through, beating dreadlocked German Dustin Brown 6-4 7-5 2-6 7-6 (7/4), as did seventh seed David Ferrer after his 6-0 6-7 (3/7) 6-1 6-1 win over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.

Czech Radek Stepanek knocked out Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-2 6-4 6-4 to set up a clash against Djokovic.

Marin Cilic, the 26th seed Croatian coached by former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, defeated Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 6-7 (7/2) 6-2 6-1.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use