June 26, 2012
Nadal, Murray advance at Wimbledon
By Sports Network
LONDON - Two-time champion Rafael Nadal and British hopeful Andy Murray were a pair of first-round winners Tuesday at Wimbledon.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal was tested mightily in the opening set before ultimately cruising to a 7-6 (7-0), 6-2, 6-3 victory over Brazilian fellow lefthander Thomaz Bellucci on the famed Centre Court at the All England Club. Nadal lost the first four games of the match before turning things around on Day 2.
Nadal moved on in 2 hours, 15 minutes with the help of six service breaks, compared to three breaks for Bellucci.
The great Nadal owns 11 Grand Slam titles, including seven French Opens and a the pair of Wimbledon championships. The super Spaniard has appeared in the last five major finals, going 2-3, including another big win in Paris a few weeks ago. He lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's Wimbledon finale.
Nadal is now 36-5 lifetime at Wimbledon and a perfect 33-0 in his career first-round Grand Slam matches.
Up next for the Spanish strongman will be Czech Lukas Rosol.
The fourth-seeded Murray mauled fading former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 on Centre Court.
Murray is a three-time Grand Slam runner-up and has appeared in the Wimbledon semifinals the last three years. He's trying to give Britain its first male major titlist since Fred Perry in 1936.
Also on Tuesday, flashy Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, former U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro and on-the-mend American Mardy Fish reached the second round at tennis' most prestigious event.
The fifth-seeded former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga whipped fading Aussie star Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Court 1. The two-time major titlist Hewitt, a wild card this week, is a former No. 1 and was the Wimbledon champ back in 2002. He hadn't lost in the first round here since 2003, when he was the defending champ.
Tsonga was a Wimbledon semifinalist last year.
A ninth-seeded del Potro defeated Dutchman Robin Haase 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5. The towering Argentine "Delpo" has never made it past the fourth round at the All England Club.
Meanwhile, the 10th-seeded world No. 12 Fish handled 34-year-old Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-1) on Court 12.
Fish serve-and-volleyed his way past Ramirez Hidalgo, striking 43 more winners (61-18), including 24 aces, than his overmatched Spanish counterpart, who was the oldest player in the men's draw here.
The 30-year-old Fish had been sidelined with fatigue-like symptoms since late March and had to undergo a medical procedure called a cardiac catheter ablation to correct a heart problem, which involved misfiring electrical pulses in his heart.
Fish canceled his Tuesday post-match news conference, because "he's not feeling well," an ATP spokesman said.
The former top-10 star Fish, who was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist last year, will meet British wild card James Ward on Thursday.
Meanwhile, 12th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro outlasted diminutive Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-7 (4-7), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4 in a match that was suspended because of darkness on Monday, and Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen took out 14th-seeded Spanish fellow lefthander Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. Almagro survived Rochus in 3 hours, 24 minutes with the help of a whopping 48 aces.
In other action involving seeds, No. 16 Croat Marin Cilic dismissed German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; No. 19 rising Japanese Kei Nishikori bested Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 7-5, 6-3, 6-4; Belgian David Goffin upset No. 20 Aussie Bernard Tomic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; No. 22 Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov handled Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3, 6-4, 7-5; No. 27 Philipp Kohlschreiber outlasted fellow German Tommy Haas 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-1), 6-2; and promising Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov took out No. 32 South African Kevin Anderson 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3. The talented Tomic was a surprise Wimbledon quarterfinalist last year. The oft-injured former world No. 2 Haas was a surprise grass-court titlist in Halle two weeks ago, stunning Swiss icon Roger Federer in the final.
Some action was suspended because of rain late in the day, as 30th-seeded American Andy Roddick was leading Brit Jamie Baker 7-6 (7-6), 3-1 when play was stopped. The former world No. 1 and former U.S. Open champion Roddick is a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, with all three losses coming against the six- time champion Federer.
Also, seventh-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer was leading Jamaican Dustin Brown 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 0-1, 21st-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic was ahead of Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 6-4, 4-3, and Austrian Jurgen Melzer was leading 25th- seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-4, 5-3 when play was called on Day 2.
Several other men posted wins on Tuesday, including former Aussie Open runner- up Marcos Baghdatis, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, and Americans Sam Querrey, Brian Baker and Jesse Levine. Querrey beat Canadian Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4, while Baker bested Portuguese Rui Machado 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-0, and Levine topped Slovak Karol Beck 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-2.
The first round will conclude while the second round will commence on Wednesday, including matches for top seed Novak Djokovic and a third-seeded Federer. Djokovic will take on 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison, while Federer will be opposed by Italian Fabio Fognini.
The five-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic is the reigning Wimbledon, Aussie Open and U.S. Open champ. Federer is the men's all-time leader with 16 major titles, including his six Wimbledon wins.