Nadal, Raonic win opening matches

Rafael Nadal reacts after defeating Michael Russell at Wimbledon on Monday, June 20, 2011....

Rafael Nadal reacts after defeating Michael Russell at Wimbledon on Monday, June 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 5:06 PM ET

WIMBLEDON, England -- Reigning champion Rafael Nadal and two- time semifinalist Andy Murray were a pair of first-round winners on a rainy opening day at Wimbledon.

Also, Canadian phenom Milos Raonic, seeded No. 31 and making his Wimbledon debut, advanced after defeating first-round opponent Marc Gicquel 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

The top-ranked Spanish superstar Nadal waltzed past American journeyman Michael Russell 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in just under two hours in the first match Monday on the famed Centre Court at the venerable All England Club. Nadal rallied from a slow start to tally 35 winners, compared to 14 for Russell, and pile up seven service breaks, compared to only two for the American loser.

Nadal overcame a break and 2-4 deficit in the first set by winning six straight games for a first-set win and a 2-0 lead in the second. The 10-time Grand Slam champion cruised from there.

"I started so-so in the first set, but after that I start to hit very well the forehand and I think I finished playing a very good level," said Nadal, who has now won his last 15 matches here.

Nadal's parents, Sebastian and Ana Maria, watched their son from the Royal Box on Monday.

"Too many beautiful things to see my mom and my dad in the Royal Box," Nadal said. "I think for them (it) was a great experience. So, everything in general was very, very nice today."

The mighty Nadal is the reigning Wimbledon, French Open and U.S. Open champion and captured Wimbledon in his last two trips here. He was the 2008 winner after beating Roger Federer in the final in one of the greatest tennis matches of all-time, skipped the 2009 edition due to injury, and beat big Czech Tomas Berdych in last year's title tilt on the famed grass at the AEC.

Up next for Nadal will be another American -- Ryan Sweeting.

The fourth-seeded Murray got off to a rocky start in the first set before recovering for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 victory over Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver under the roof at Centre Court.

Following a tight start, Murray flattened Gimeno-Traver over the final three sets, including wins in the final 15 games of the match. The British star swatted 12 aces and broke his Spanish counterpart seven times in the two-hour, six-minute affair.

Murray is a three-time major runner-up, including this year at the Australian Open. The Scottish native is attempting to give Britain its first male Wimbledon champion in 75 years.

The 24-year-old Murray now awaits the Tobias Kamke-Blaz Kavcic winner.

A sixth-seeded Berdych improved to 7-1 in his last eight matches at the All England Club with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 pasting of helpless Italian Filippo Volandri. The mismatch was over in 1 hour, 34 minutes.

Berdych will face Frenchman Julien Benneteau in his next outing.

Meanwhile, ninth-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils beat German Matthias Bachinger 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 and 10th-seeded American Mardy Fish reached the second round with a 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 victory over Spaniard Marcel Granollers. Fish will encounter Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the second round.

In other action involving top-20 seeds, No. 14 Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka handled Italian Potito Starace 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and No. 17 Frenchman Richard Gasquet got past Colombian Santiago Giraldo 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

German veteran Rainer Schuettler drove out No. 30 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil in straight sets.

Continuing his comeback from injury, German Tommy Haas succumbed to Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in four sets. The former top-five star and 2009 Wimbledon semifinalist Haas is now 0-3 this season.

Several other men moved on, including Istomin, Sweeting, his fellow American Alex Bogomolov Jr., Benneteau, Israeli Dudi Sela, and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Sweeting outlasted Spaniard Pablo Andujar 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, while Bogomolov Jr. topped compatriot Donald Young 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Rain started to fall just after 5:00 pm local time and wreaked havoc on the Day-1 schedule, as 13 men's matches were either suspended or postponed because of wet weather.

Eighth-seeded American Andy Roddick was getting ready to face German Andreas Beck before rain pushed their bout into Tuesday. The former world No. 1 and former U.S. Open champion Roddick is a three-time Wimbledon runner-up to the incredible six-time Wimbledon champion Federer.

Roddick is a perfect 10-0 in his career first-round matches at the All England Club.

A match between 24th-seeded former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and Italian Flavio Cipolla was suspended, with the former world No. 4 Argentine leading 6-1, 1-3.

The bottom half of the men's draw will see action here on Tuesday, including matches for second-seeded Aussie Open champion Novak Djokovic, a third-seeded Federer and fifth-seeded Swedish slugger Robin Soderling.

Djokovic is an amazing 41-0 this year, including seven titles. His only loss came against Federer in the French Open semifinals three weeks ago. The Serbian star will face France's Jeremy Chardy in the round of 128.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer will open his 2011 Wimbledon stay against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin, while the two-time French Open runner- up Soderling will tangle with capable German Philipp Petzschner.

Federer is trying to become only the second man in the Open Era (since 1968) to capture a seventh Wimbledon title. American legend Pete Sampras holds the record.

Also on the Day-2 schedule is a rematch of last year's first-round odyssey between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. Several records, including the longest-ever tennis match, were set in their 11-hour, 5-minute epic that played out over three days before Isner finally prevailed in five sets, including a monumental 138-game (70-68) fifth.

Isner outlasted Mahut on Court 18 last year. This year's rematch will be staged on a bigger court -- Court 3.

The 2011 Wimbledon champ will pocket $1.78 million.


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