London: Defending champion Andy Murray breezed through his Wimbledon opener on Monday with a confident 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 win over baby-faced Belgian David Goffin. Third-seeded Murray, bidding to become the first British man to successfully defend a Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, hit eight aces and 28 winners.
The British star was never broken as he brushed past the 23-year-old Goffin, the world number 104, with new coach Amelie Mauresmo as well as former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal looking on from the Centre Court stands.
Murray goes on to face Slovenia’s Blaz Rola. The Scot was joined in the second round by Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, the 2010 runner-up, who came from a set down to beat Romania’s Victor Hanescu, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
Tomas Berdych arrived at Wimbledon having joined US veteran Venus Williams in a naked photo shoot for a pre-tournament ESPN magazine special. Latvian 12th seed Ernests Gulbis, who made the French Open semifinals, also went into the second round by defeating Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp 7-6 (9/7), 7-5, 7-6 (12/10). Spanish 18th seed Fernando Verdasco, who took Murray to five sets in the quarter-finals in 2013, was knocked out by Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Sergiy Stakhovsky, the Ukrainian who send seven-time champion Roger Federer crashing to a shock second round loss last year, beat Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. Former women’s world number one Victoria Azarenka won her first match since January on the same court where she suffered a knee injury which ended her 2013 hopes. Azarenka, the eighth seed, won 6-3, 7-5 against Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on Court One. That was the same arena where she hurt her right knee in a nasty fall in the first round 12 months ago, an injury which sparked her withdrawal from the next round.
Kirlenko ousts Stephens
US 18th seed Sloane Stephens, a quarter-finalist in 2013, was defeated by Russian former top 10 player Maria Kirilenko, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6). Kirilenko, who had won just one match all year after a lengthy battle with a knee injury, claimed victory on a sixth match point.
Australian Open winner Li Na got back on track after her French Open misery as the Chinese second seed enjoyed a 7-5, 6-2 win over Polish qualifier Paula Kania in the first round.
Australian 17th seed Samantha Stosur fired 13 aces but still suffered another Wimbledon nightmare when she slumped to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer.
Japanese 43-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm who made her debut 25 years ago, went down 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Russian 22nd seed, Ekaterina Makarova.
Men’s first round: Gilles Simon (FRA) bt Konstantin Kravchuk (RUS) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) bt Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, Marinko Matosevic (AUS) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, Blaz Rola (SLO) bt Pablo Andújar (ESP) 6-3, 6-1, 6-4
Women: Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 6-4, 6-4, Misaki Doi (JPN) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-4, 6-1, Maria Kirilenko (RUS) bt Sloane Stephens (USA x18) 6-2, 7-6 (8/6), Peng Shuai (CHN) bt Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS x17) 6-3, 6-4, Victoria Azarenka (Bel x8) beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (Cro) 6-3, 7-5....