Former Wimbledon champs Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal eased into the second round in their debuts at the All England Club on Tuesday, with almost time to enjoy strawberries and cream during change-overs as three of the Big 4 won in straight sets.
Federer needed just a little over an hour to dispatch of Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 on Centre Court, speaking to the difference of the show courts, and all the courts, as the tournament advances.
“[The grass] changes as the tournament progresses,” said Federer, who will next meet American Sam Querrey in their first meeting on grass. “It’s easier to move once you enter, I’d say, third round. Then especially the second week, just because of the used bit in the back, you have more grip, whereas in the beginning of the tournament it’s softer, it’s more slippery where the green patches are.”
Also avoiding slips among the Top 10-seeded players were the No. 3-seeded Murray with a 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin; No. 6 Tomas Berdych in one of the late matches over France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-7(8), 7-6(3), 7-6(5) as darkness fell; and the struggling No. 10 seed and former champ Rafa Nadal who looked to be righting his ship with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci.
“I think I played okay [today]; played well, played solid,” Nadal said of improving to 5-0 career against Bellucci. “I am a little bit more confident now than I was few months ago. Just day by day for me. Obviously victories help.”
Nadal will next face an awkward opponent in the net-crashing German “Smokin'” Dustin Brown.
“He’s not a usual player,” Nadal said. “Anything can happen. He beat me last year in Halle. It is little bit different, the surface and everything. He’s a tough player…Probably he will come with good confidence. I’m going to try to be ready for it.”
Murray squeaked by in a tiebreak in his second set, when his serve went off the boil.
“I didn’t necessarily feel nervy,” said Murray, who will next face Robin Haase. “I lost my serve a bit in the end of that second set. There was a period where I missed like 10 or 12 first serves in a row and let him back into it there. Then he played some really good stuff at times and was going for his shots. I found it difficult to play aggressive tennis out there. I was glad to get through in straight sets.”
Seeds outside the Top 10 advancing were No. 12 Gilles Simon, No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who out-served Gilles Muller in five, No. 15 Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, No. 18 Gael “Force” Monfils, No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 22 Viktor Troicki, No. 23 “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, No. 25 Andreas Seppi, and No. 30 Fabio Fognini.
No. 31 Jack Sock was a seeded fatality, needing injury treatment during a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 loss to giant-serving Aussie journeyman Sam Groth. Spain’s Pablo Andujar was another upset maker, downing No. 29 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in five 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Other players of note into the second round in all-unseeded meetings were another non-Andy-Murray Brit winner with James Ward defeating Italian Luca Vanni after losing the first set, joined by fellow winners Nicolas Mahut, Borna Coric topping veteran Sergiy Stakhovsky 9-7 in the fifth, Lukas Rosol straight-setting Ernests Gulbis, and Vasek Pospisil.
Highlights of men’s play on Wednesday at the All England Club include (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Jarkko Nieminen, (7) Milos Raonic vs. Tommy Haas, (11) Grigor Dimitrov vs. Steve Johnson, and Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco vs. (32) Dominic Thiem.
You Might Like:
Is the US Open Draw Fixed? ESPN Investigates [Video]
Milos Raonic: “My Job Is To Go Out There And Make My Opponents Adjust To Me”
Novak Djokovic Sounds Cool (And Confused) With The ATP Time Rule, But Recognizes His Ball Bouncing Might Be An Issue
Serena Williams, Angie Kerber to Repeat Wimbledon Final of Two Years Ago
Halep, Muguruza Line-Up Cincinnati Final with No. 1 on the Line