Murray wins opening Wimbledon match in style
Not even two short rain breaks could throw defending champion off his rhythm
Andy Murray opened his Wimbledon Open campaign in style yesterday, motoring into the second round with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Alexander Bublik.
The Kazakh was in the first round as a lucky loser from qualifying, but his good fortune ran out against the British top seed.
Not even two short rain breaks could throw Murray off his rhythm as he punched groundstrokes to the corners, served sublimely and overpowered his opponent.
Murray, who will play dynamic German serve-volleyer Dustin Brown next, said after his win: "I felt pretty good and thought I did pretty well for the first match. I felt comfortable.
"I was chatting to him (Bublik) in the rain delay about Centre Court and the match, which is pretty rare. He's a bit of a character.
"I will spend some with the physios this evening and then work on the Dustin Brown game.
"He plays more from the net so it will be a different kind of game."
Meanwhile, Australian 20th seed Nick Kyrgios retired injured in his first-round match after losing the first two sets to French doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Kyrgios, clearly still struggling from the left hip injury that forced him to drop out in his first-round match at last month's Queen's Club tournament in London, was 6-3, 6-4 down to the world No. 70 when he asked for a physio to come on court.
The 22-year-old rarely ran to pick up the peppering of drop shots and lobs coming from Herbert, and sat with his head in his hands at the changeover after having his serve broken for 4-3 in the second set.
Kyrgios, who has never lost in the first round at Wimbledon, later said that he knew he wasn't fit to play in the tournament.
He said after the match: "I thought I could win.
"Obviously probably not against him, but some opponents if I played them today, I probably still could have won.
"I could feel the hip a lot. It was hindering my performance a lot."
Unlike Kyrgios, two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga breezed into the second round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over British wildcard Cameron Norrie, whose first Grand Slam appearance ended in a swift and painful exit.
Tsonga, the 12th seed, was dumped out in the second round last year, but was never forced out of second gear as he swatted Norrie aside on Court Two to wrap up victory in one hour and 23 minutes.
Kei Nishikori, the ninth seed, needed less time than that, cruising through to the second round by beating Italy's Marco Cecchinato 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 in just 72 minutes.
Japan's highest-ever ranked player did not show any sign of the injuries that have plagued him on grass courts in recent years.
His toughest challenge of the day was making his way off the court as he was mobbed by dozens of fans seeking autographs.
Over in the women's draw, Venus Williams showed her immense mental strength as the five-time champion beat Elise Mertens 7-6 (9/7), 6-4.
Williams is being sued by the estate of an elderly Florida man who died last month after his vehicle was hit by a car driven by the American star. But the world No. 11 put the horror crash to one side as she advanced to the second round, where she will face China's Wang Qiang.
Second seed Simona Halep also raced through to the second round with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over New Zealander Marina Erakovic.
The Romanian, French Open runner-up last month, broke her opponent's serve five times during a match lasting an hour and 13 minutes. - WIRE SERVICES
Men's singles 1st rd
- Pierre-Hugues Herbert bt Nick Kyrgios (x20) 6-3, 6-4 - retired
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (x12) bt Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
- Kei Nishikori (x9) bt Marco Cecchinato 6-2, 6-2, 6-0
- Andy Murray (x1) bt Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
Women's singles 1st rd
- Madison Keys (x17) bt Nao Hibino 6-4, 6-2
- Elina Svitolina (x4) bt Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 7-6 (10/8)
- Venus Williams (x10) bt Elise Mertens 7-6 (9/7), 6-4
- Simona Halep (x2) bt Marina Erakovic 6-4, 6-1