Murray starts well but Wawrinka is out
Originally published on 03/07/17 00:00
The world No.1 was greeted by rapturous applause as he made his way on to Centre Court for the first time since his triumph over Milos Raonic 12 months ago. He was tentative in the early exchanges but soon tamed his unorthodox opponent and secured a convincing victory.
Bublik, a colourful character ranked No.135 and in the main draw as a lucky loser, appeared eager to enjoy his first outing on the most famous court in the world. The 20-year-old created two break-point opportunities in the first game but he was unable to take his chances.
From the moment Murray nudged a forehand passing-shot beyond the reach of his sprawling opponent to move 3-1 ahead in the first set, the outcome was never in doubt.
The Brit toyed with his rival for large chunks of the contest however he had to be alert to save three-break points when serving for a two set advantage. He survived the scare and completed the job after two brief rain delays.
“I feel pretty good,” remarked Murray, who will play Dustin Brown next. "The last few days I’ve been feeling better each day but obviously getting out on the match court is a little bit different. The intensity is a bit higher and the adrenaline helps numb some pains you might have, but I moved well today."
Nick Kyrgios, who could have been a fourth round opponent for Murray, is out at the first round stage. The Australian dropped the first two sets to Pierre-Hugues Herbert before retiring with a left hip issue.
It was a subdued display from the 22-year-old and he struggled with his movement from the outset. He took the decision to quit after a medical timeout prior to the start of the third set and made a sharp exit from Court 3.
“I kind of knew I was in trouble,” said Kyrgios after his defeat. “I have been feeling my hip ever since I fell over at Queen's. I never got it right. I was doing everything I could to try help it, but there was just not enough time.
“I was not 100% but take nothing away from him [Herbert], he played great grass-court tennis and served well.”
Stan Wawrinka’s hopes of completing the career Grand Slam at Wimbledon this year are over after he was unceremoniously dumped out the competition by Daniil Medvedev.
The young Russian, who impressed at Queen’s Club last month, defeated the three-time major winner 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-1 to make it an unforgettable debut at the All England Club.
Medvedev was calm and composed throughout and his aggressive baseline play proved to be too much for his erratic opponent, who was nursing a left knee injury. “I’m just really happy,” beamed the Russian after his surprise victory. “It’s my first Grand Slam win at my favourite slam and just one year ago I was 250 in the rankings. If someone had told me back then that I would win on Centre Court, I would have thought they were joking.
“I had a really great grass-court season and I knew that Stan had some problems at Queen’s. He played only one match on grass and I knew I would have a chance if I played good.”
Rafael Nadal has had limited grass-court action over the last few years but he looked at ease on his return to Wimbledon. The Spaniard launched his title bid with a 6-1 6-3 6-2 success over John Millman.
It was an impressive performance from the French Open champion and he was rarely troubled by his industrious opponent. “The important thing is that I’m through,” said Nadal after his win. “It’s been two years without a match on grass so it’s a very positive start. I had some positive feelings and I’m happy with how I finished the match, hitting my forehand well again.
“It’s so special to play here with the history I have at this place. I reached five finals in a row between 2006 and 2011, so I’m very happy to be back.”
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is safely through to the second round after a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Britain’s Cameron Norrie. It was a professional display from the Frenchman and Simone Bolelli will be his next opponent.
The charismatic 32 year old said: “It’s never easy to start a tournament as you are always looking for a good level of tennis in the first round. At the start of the match he [Norrie] played pretty good but after the beginning he had some difficulties keeping the ball in the court – which made it easier for me.”
Elsewhere on the grounds, Kei Nishikori took just 72 minutes to dispatch Marco Cecchinato for the concession of four games. Former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Jerzy Janowicz, defeated talented Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, in four sets and Karen Khachanov defeated Andrey Kuznetsov in a thriller.
Marin Cilic, who reached the final of the Aegon Championships last month, enjoyed a smooth passage into the second round. He defeated the skilled German, Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-4 6-3 6-2 to continue his excellent recent form.
There were also first round wins for Sam Querrey, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Roberto Bautista Agut, Lucas Pouille, Florian Mayer, Donald Young and Kevin Anderson.