Nadal takes bow in style, Murray has it covered
Updated: 2011-06-21 11:02
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return to Michael Russell of the US at the 2011 Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 20, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
LONDON - Rafa Nadal made a dazzling start to his Wimbledon title defence with an easy win over American Michael Russell on Monday before home favourite Andy Murray produced some indoor fireworks to join the Spaniard in the second round.
World number one Nadal, playing at the grasscourt slam for the first time as defending champion after injury denied him the honour in 2009, beat Russell 6-4 6-2 6-2 after taking a few games to get to grips with the 33-year-old journeyman.
After heavy rain shut down play on the 17 courts not equipped with a roof, Murray made full use of Centre Court's translucent sliding canopy to give British fans some cheer despite a scare against Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
World number four Murray, who beat Stanislas Wawrinka in the only other whole Wimbledon match to be played under the 80-million pound roof in 2009, reeled off the last 15 games to win 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-0.
Venus Williams of the US celebrates defeating Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 20, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
The 31-year-old, who returned from a five-month injury lay-off at Eastbourne last week, struck the ball with her customary power to overwhelm the 97th-ranked Amanmuradova who is still looking for her first Wimbledon win after five attempts.
"Especially having not played a lot, I had a little pressure on me to come out and swing as usual," Williams, one of the oldest players in the women's draw, told reporters.
The American will have youth on her side in the second round, though, when she plays Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm who beat British wildcard Katie O'Brien 6-0 7-5.
At 40 years and eight months, Date-Krumm became the second oldest player to win a singles match at Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova survived a round in 2004 aged 47.
Vera Zvonareva, the highest-ranked woman playing on opening day, survived a big scare when the second-seeded Russian beat American Alison Riske 6-0 3-6 6-3 and last year's French Open champion Francesca Schiavone also needed a decider to see off Jelena Dokic in a match completed under the roof.
Nadal, bidding to equal Bjorn Borg's feat of winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year three times, fell 4-2 behind against the 33-year-old Russell before finding his range on his forehand and racing into the second round where he will face American Ryan Sweeting.
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