Murray remains on course to defend title
LONDON: Defending champion Andy Murray outclassed German maverick Dustin Brown 6-3 6-2 6-2 in an entertaining match of exhibition style points yesterday, overcoming a potentially tricky opponent with a reputation for giant-killing.
Brown, ranked 97th in the world, beat two-time champion Rafa Nadal in the second round in 2015 and set out his familiar game plan of baffling drop shots right from the start. But despite being moved all round the court by a barrage from Brown, Murray gave as good as he got – and better – playing the same shots with more accuracy and control.
Murray only rarely showed signs of the sore hip that has been troubling him and he came through an easy winner.
“He started very well and was coming up with great drop volleys and really going for the returns,” the world number one said.
“Once I got the break in the first set, I felt the momentum was with me, I was starting to see the shots he was going to play a little bit quicker and that allowed me to get to some of the drop volleys and also come up with some good passing shots.”
The top seed’s win was greeted by huge cheers from the home crowd who are hoping to see the 30-year-old two-time champion become the first British player to retain a grand slam title since Fred Perry in the 1930s.
“It has been a good start, hopefully, keep it going,” said Murray, who plays Italy’s Fabio Fognini, seeded 28th, in round three.
Marin Cilic survived a difficult start to seal a spot in the Wimbledon third round after battling to a 7-6(2) 6-4 7-5 victory over German Florian Mayer in unrelenting heat on Court Two.
It looked as though the beaming sunlight was impeding the 6ft 6ins (1.98m) seventh seed as his trusted serve immediately deserted him.
Mayer, ranked 114th in the world and without a victory over a top-10 player in 12 grand slam matches, broke in the first game of the match, before having the opportunity to serve for the first set.
However, Cilic broke back, and found his high-powered service game at the pivotal moment, hammering three aces to help edge the first-set tiebreak.
The 2014 U.S. Open champion, who came into Wimbledon in good form having reached the final at Queen’s Club, fired four big winners to break in the ninth game of the second set before serving out the set.
Mayer did not give up without a fight, however, as he again broke the Cilic serve to lead 5-3 in the third, only to again flounder at the crucial moment, with Cilic storming back to win five games in a row and clinch victory with a trademark ace.
The Croatian will next face American Steve Johnson or Moldovan
Venus Williams continued to fly the family flag in the absence of her sister and reigning Wimbledon champion Serena but suffered a scare against China’s 55th-ranked Qiang Wang in the second round on day.
The 37-year-old American, bidding for a sixth Wimbledon title, made a slow start but hit back to win 4-6 6-4 6-1 on a warm and sultry Court One.
Her opponent, playing only her fourth singles match at Wimbledon compared to the 97 contested by Williams, was threatening a shock when she had break points at 3-3 in the second set against the misfiring 10th seed.
But Williams used her experience to steady the ship and levelled the match with a backhand pass before running away with the decider to book a third-round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
Williams, one of only two former champions in the women’s draw, came to Wimbledon under a cloud after being involved in a road traffic accident last month in Florida which resulted in the death of a 78-year-old man.
Her sister Serena, who she lost to in this year’s Australian Open final, is absent because she is expecting a baby.
Meanwhile new mum Victoria Azarenka wants to see more childfriendly tournaments on the WTA Tour, saying not enough is done to help players travelling with young families.
The former world number one returned to action last month after giving birth to son Leo in December and will soon be joined on the Tour by mum-to-be Serena Williams.
“I hope that’s the case. I have been already talking about this point to some of the people in the WTA,” Azarenka said after reaching the third round at Wimbledon with a straight sets defeat of 15th seed Elena Vesnina.
“From my own power, I’ll do anything to make that happen, because I think it’s really important. The guys do have that luxury of having the nurseries and stuff at every event, and I think it’s time for women to have the same benefit.
“For women, it’s much more important and harder,” added the Belarusian, who faces Britain’s Heather Watson next.
Creches are not mandatory facilities on the WTA Tour, although all the grand slam events cater for players travelling with young children and Wimbledon’s was upgraded in 2015.
Judy Murray, mother of world number one Andy, has also thrown her support behind better child facilities: “It’s not every player that has the money to employ an entourage of nannies so it’s very important.” she said. – Reuters