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Rediff.com  » Sports » Wimbledon Day 2: Nadal makes happy return

Wimbledon Day 2: Nadal makes happy return

Last updated on: June 23, 2010 03:56 IST

Ruthless Nadal eases past Nishikori

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Rafael Nadal looked like he had never been away as he made a welcome return to Wimbledon with a ruthless 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Japanese wildcard Kei Nishikori on Tuesday.

The Spanish world number one missed out on defending his title last June as he nursed his aching knees back home in Mallorca.

On the second day of the championships, he was back on a sun-soaked Centre Court and wasted little time in tormenting an opponent who he had once tipped as a 'future top 10 player'.

The 20-year-old Nishikori, on a comeback trail after missing most of the 2009 season with an elbow injury, had the audacity to break Nadal for 3-3 in the third set but his joy was short-lived.

Nadal powered to victory with an overhead smash on match point to set up a second round encounter with Dutchman Robin Haase.


Image: Rafa Nadal returns to Kei Nishikori
Photographs: Reuters
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Murray cruises past Hajek

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Andy Murray overcame a nervy start to ease through to the second round at Wimbledon on Tuesday, his class finally telling in a 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 victory over unheralded Czech Jan Hajek.

The 23-year-old, as ever the only realistic hope of a home champion, fell 2-1 behind to an early break against the world number 90, but he levelled in game eight and sealed the opener in 45 minutes after Hajek ballooned a backhand long.

Hajek's game, which in the early stages featured some defiant forehands and a nice drop shot, imploded thereafter and Murray, the fourth seed, wrapped up the win when the Czech netted a service return on a sun-baked Court One.

He now plays Finn Jarkko Nieminen or Austria's Stefan Koubek in the second round.


Image: Andy Murray celebrates after winning the match

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Serena saunters through

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Serena Williams enjoyed the gentlest of workouts as the sun beat down on Wimbledon's Centre Court on Tuesday, scoring a comfortable 6-0, 6-4 first-round win over Portugal's Michelle Larcher de Brito.

The defending champion and top seed, seeking a fourth singles title at the All England Club, was in unforgiving form against the world number 148 and raced through the first set in just 22 minutes, sealing it with a brutal fifth ace.

Larcher De Brito finally got off the mark at the start of the second and even forced the American to lose her balance on occasions during some testing rallies, but Williams proved too strong and served out with another ace for victory after 63 minutes.

Russian Anna Chakvetadze will be her second-round opponent.


Image: Serena Williams in action against Michelle Larcher de Brito

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Stosur fails to repeat French Open heroics

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Wimbledon proved to be an unhappy hunting ground yet again for French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur as the Australian slumped to a 6-4, 6-4 first-round defeat by Estonia's Kaia Kanepi on Tuesday.

On paper the sixth seed should have the game to do well on turf since she hails from the home of many Wimbledon champions, but the 26-year-old has never made it past the third round in seven previous appearances.

Attempt number eight proved just as frustrating for Stosur as she wilted on a sun-kissed Court 18 in just 82 minutes against a player who had won only one match at the All England Club before Tuesday.

Stosur's defeat meant both French Open finalists had failed to survive the opening round here as Paris champion Francesca Schiavone made a hasty exit on Monday.


Image: Samantha Stosur reacts after her loss

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Impressive Soderling races into second round

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Twice French Open finalist Robin Soderling breezed into the second round at Wimbledon with a rapid 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 demolition of American Robby Ginepri on Tuesday.

The Swedish sixth seed has never gone beyond the last 16 in seven previous visits to the All England Club but his total dominance of world number 72 Ginepri more than hinted he could progress further this year.

Soderling was far from rusty despite not having played since losing the Roland Garros final to Rafa Nadal earlier this month, with Ginepri blown off court in just 78 minutes.


Image: Robin Soderling returns to Robby Ginepri

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Eighth seed Verdasco sent packing by Fognini

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Spanish eighth seed Fernando Verdasco became the highest men's seed to fall in the first round at Wimbledon after losing 7-6, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 to Italian Fabio Fognini on Tuesday.

Fognini made light of his lowly world ranking of 80 and his grasscourt inexperience, the 23-year-old only having previously won twice on the surface in eight contests.

Verdasco struggled to get to grips with Fognini's serve, his plight hindered by blistered toes that required medical attention during the game.

Fognini's reward is a second round clash with American Michael Russell.


Image: Fabio Fognini

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Wozniacki thrashes Garbin

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Third seed Caroline Wozniacki shone at Wimbledon on Tuesday as she raced into the second round with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Italy's Tathiana Garbin.

The 19-year-old Dane, making her fourth appearance at the grasscourt grand slam, produced some rasping winners to delight a Court One crowd enjoying the early evening sunshine.

She needed just 47 minutes to overpower the 32-year-old Garbin and will face either Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands or Kai Chen-Chang of Taiwan in the next round.

Wozniacki, who reached the fourth round here last year, is the only teenager amongst the world's top 10.


Image: Caroline Wozniacki serves to Tathiana Garbin

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Sharapova breezes past Pivovarova

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Maria Sharapova, clambering back up the rankings after a shoulder injury almost ended her career, has rediscovered the joy of tennis.

Success is so much sweeter the second time around for the statuesque Russian who won Wimbledon at the age of 17. Six years later it is a whole new ball game for her.

On Tuesday, she blossomed in the sunshine at Wimbledon, showing all her old fire to dismiss fellow Russian Anastasia Pivovarova 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.

She moved across court with grace and agility. The serve was powerful. She won in under an hour.

After suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery, Sharapova spent several months on the sidelines and dropped as far as 126th in the rankings.

Seeded 16th this year, she was in reflective mood after the match, counting her tennis blessings. "My joy in the game is pretty up there with what it was before I got injured," she said.

"Maybe even more so because it was taken away from me for such a long period of time that it made me realise how blessed you are when you are actually on the court," she added.


Image: Maria Sharapova

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