Wimbledon: Serena, Nadal sail through
Four-time champion Serena Williams made an excellent start to Wimbledon on Tuesday, coming through an athletic first-round match against Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova that was tougher than the 6-2, 6-4 scoreline would suggest.
The Czech, ranked 62nd in the world, was a dogged, determined opponent for the sixth seed on Court Two, chasing down every ball.
However, she found Serena's powerful first serve tough to handle, staggering backwards like a punch-drunk boxer when the ball thundered towards her.
Serena, whose older sister Venus lost in the first round on Monday, will face either Johanna Larsson of Sweden or Hungarian qualifier Melinda Czink in the second round.
Image: Serena Williams
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/REUTERS
Slow-starting Kvitova make progress
Petra Kvitova overcame a nervy start to the defence of her Wimbledon title to book her place in the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova.
The Czech fourth seed returned to Centre Court where she beat Maria Sharapova to lift the Rosewater Dish 12 months ago, but looked far from a defending champion when she was broken in the second game by the world number 96.
She looked sluggish around the court and her greater power was frequently misdirected, but she saved two break points to avoid going a double break down and then won five games in a row to claim the opening set.
The second was more straightforward as the Czech broke in the opening game and then closed out the match following a short rain delay to set up a second round clash against Britain's Elena Baltacha or Italy's Karin Knapp.
Image: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic
Photographs: Stefan Wermuth /REUTERS
Nadal off the blocks quickly
Rafael Nadal needed four games to adjust his sights for grasscourt combat at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Mallorcan Nadal, looking to reclaim the title he won in 2008 and 2010, found himself 4-0 down against Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci on Centre Court before a barrage of heavy hitting took him to a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory in two hours 15 minutes.
"I think today I didn't play my best match," Nadal said with some understatement. "I think especially at the first set I played a little bit too nervous, a little bit not knowing exactly what to do.
"My movements were a little bit in a defensive way, not an aggressive way."
Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil in their men's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London
Tsonga overcomes Hewitt challenge
Wildcard Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 champion, lost 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga while 20th seed Bernard Tomic's surprise 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 defeat by Belgian wildcard David Goffin made it a bad day for Australia.
Hewitt, still one of the game's most ferocious competitors despite the ravages of his long career, would have raised an eyebrow at 19-year-old Tomic's post-match analysis.
"My quality of tennis should be getting me to a lot of semi-finals, finals at tournaments or even winning," he said.
Image: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France shakes hands with Lleyton Hewitt of Australia after defeating him in their men's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London
Clinical Murray crushes Davydenko
After World No 1 and title holder Novak Djokovic and six-times winner Roger Federer moved safely through on Monday, Andy Murray was the last of the men's big four in first round action later on Centre Court against Nikolay Davydenko.
Murray made a ruthless start to his seventh Wimbledon title bid by crushing Russian Davydenko 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round on Tuesday.
The British fourth seed, semi-finalist for the past three years, needed one hour 35 minutes to see off the former World No 3.
Murray raced through the first two sets in 55 minutes and although Davydenko improved in the third, Murray's powerful serve and metronomical groundstrokes were simply too good for the 31-year-old Davydenko.
Murray, bidding to become the first British man to win Wimbledon for 76 years, sealed victory on his third match point when his opponent sent a backhand return long and he will play Croatian Ivo Karlovic or Israeli Dudi Sela in the second round.
Image: Andy Murray reacts after defeating Nikolay Davydenko
Photographs: Stefan Wermuth / Reuters