Reigning US Open champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams both looked a little sluggish Wednesday in their 2013 summer hardcourt debuts. Playing in Montreal, Murray overcame a second set break deficit to turn away Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-4, 7-6 to win his 13th straight match and first since his Wimbledon title a month ago.
“I was pretty nervous beforehand,” said Murray a 2-time Canadian Open champion. “That was a good sign. I’m pretty ready to move forward and not think too much about Wimbledon and concentrate on the US Open.
“I think if I’d lost today, it just breaks the momentum a little bit,” he said. “The more matches I can get in the next few weeks, the better. No matter how much you practice, it’s still different when you go out there.”
Granollers, who just won the Kitzbuhel clay title on Saturday then beat Grigor Dimitrov yesterday, served for the second set before Murray fought his way back.
The Scot now meets Ernests Gulbis on Thursday. Gulbis beat Feliciano Lopez on Monday then today ousted Fabio Fognini in three sets.
Former winner Rafael Nadal was also in action, his first since a shock loss to Steve Darcis at Wimbledon. After splitting the first two games in 15 minutes against Jesse Levine, Nadal rolled the Canadian lefty 6-2, 6-0.
“I didn’t play a perfect match,” Nadal said. “I played well. The conditions out there today were very difficult. I will say I did the right things to be in the next round.”
Rafa missed the event last year because of the knee which also hampered his play at Wimbledon.
“I am fine. The knee is not bothering me too much,” said Nadal suggesting that the knee is still not 100%. “The last couple of days I was able to practice with no limitations. That is the most important thing.”
Nadal, the 2005 Montreal winner, will meet towering 22-year-old Jerzy Janowicz in a much-anticipated third round match tomorrow. The 6-foot-8 Janowicz who reached the Wimbledon semifinals last month edged Canadian Frank Dancevic.
Other winners on the day were Canadians Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, Tomas Berdych, Benoit Paire and Marinko Matosevic who advanced when 35-year-old Tommy Haas retired with a shoulder injury.
Late day rains pushed the conclusion of the night matches to much later and it was mixed for the seeds. Croatian Ivan Dodig stunned Nadal on a Wednesday two years ago in Montreal; this time, though, he couldn’t seal the deal against Washington champ Juan Martin Del Potro. Dodig, who was up two breaks 4-1 in the third, served for the match at 5-4 but wouldn’t win another game as Del Potro broke and took the next two games to win it on a Dodig double fault 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 and set up showdown tomorrow afternoon against Roanic.
World No. 3 David Ferrer didn’t have any game on the night getting blown out by Alex Bogomolov 6-2, 6-4. In eight trips to Canada now Ferrer has a grand total of five match wins, his fewest at any Masters event.
In the women’s event in Toronto, the world No 1. didn’t play her best match but Serena Williams got past former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-2.
“I felt good. I felt solid. Obviously I made a few errors, but it’s just my first match on hard in a really long time,” said Serena. “I also played a really good player, so it was a good match.
“It took me a few games to adjust to her game, but it’s good that she played like that because of my next opponent. Now I feel like I’m completely adjusted, and I feel good going into the next round.”
Ahead for Serena is Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens.
Italians Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani also advanced as did former No. 1s Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli impressed with a 6-0, 6-3 win over American Lauren Davis.
“I was surprised I started so well, honestly – I hadn’t played on hardcourt for a while, and also the last two times I played in Toronto I lost first round,” Bartoli said. “So I just wanted to enjoy myself on the court and try my hardest, and being able to win 60 63 was obviously pretty good for me. I think I played well, and I’m very pleased with the way I handled everything on the court today.”
In the late matches, Petra Kvitova knocked out local favorite Eugenie Bouchard while former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki lost to Sorana Cirstea in a mild upset.
THURSDAY MONTREAL SCHEDULE
CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
 R Nadal (ESP) vs  J Janowicz (POL)
Not Before 14:00
E Gulbis (LAT) vs  A Murray (GBR)
Not Before 18:00
 J Del Potro (ARG) vs  M Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 20:00
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs D Istomin (UZB)
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