21 Jun 2011

Untroubled start for Nadal at Wimbledon

2:58 pm on 21 June 2011

Rafael Nadal got away to a comfortable start in his bid to capture a third Wimbledon title with a straight sets win over the American Michael Russell.

Russell enjoyed a moment of glory when he led 4-2 in the opening set, but the top seed won the next six games and took the match 6-4 6-2 6-2 in London on Sunday.

In 29 grand slam events, the Spaniard has never lost a first round match. He has become such a favourite at the All England Club that his parents Sebastian and Ana Maria were invited to watch their son from the Royal Box, AFP reports.

Five-time women's champion Venus Williams and Kimiko Date-Krumm struck an early blow for the tournament's senior citizens with straight sets wins and will meet in the second round.

Williams, 31, was untroubled in disposing of Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3 6-1, showing no signs of the hip injury which kept her off the tour for five months until last week.

Williams now takes on Date-Krumm, 40, who became the second oldest winner of a singles match at Wimbledon with her 6-0 7-5 demolition of British wild card Katie O'Brien.

Fourth seed Andy Murray survived a nervous start to surge into the second round with a 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-0 win against Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

Murray, who has lost in the semifinals for the past two years, is bidding to become the first British winner of the Wimbledon men's singles title since Fred Perry in 1936.

Meanwhile, rain has kept New Zealand tennis No 1 Marina Erakovic off the court. She was due to face Taiwan's Kai-Chen Taiwan in their first round match but this has been postponed until Monday.