London: Rafael Nadal was made to suffer in a nervous return to the Wimbledon lawns on Tuesday, as he rattled through a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovakia’s Martin Klizan — his 700th tour win.
The world No.1, seeded second at Wimbledon, had lost his past three games on grass, going out in the first and second rounds at the All England Club in the past two years, as well as losing in the first round at Halle two weeks ago.
Klizan, 24, used his 160km/h forehand to play on Nadal’s first-round jitters as he attempted to call an early halt to the Spaniard’s attempt at a third French Open and Wimbledon double.
But after twice tumbling to the ground and scrambling to his feet to win points, Nadal began to find his grasscourt range and, with the sun-drenched crowd behind him, earned a second-round revenge match-up against his 2012 conqueror Lukas Rosol.
Maria Sharapova, however, showed no mercy to British wildcard Samantha Murray in a brutal 6-1, 6-0 first-round victory.
The Russian fifth seed, bidding for a French Open-Wimbledon double after claiming the Roland Garros title this month, was forced to deuce in her opening service game, but barely broke sweat after that in a one-sided contest lasting 58 minutes.
World No. 247 Murray, no relation to the reigning men’s singles champion, never looked capable of causing a shock as Sharapova dominated the rallies with her rasping groundstrokes. Sharapova, trying to become the first woman to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since Serena Williams in 2002, will play Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinsky next.
Meanwhile, the similarity between two 32-year-olds on Tuesday ended only with their age, as Roger Federer romped to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Paolo Lorenzi in pursuit of a record eighth Wimbledon title on Tuesday.
A year after leaving the All England Club as a shell-shocked second-round loser, Federer was back to his sublime best as he teased and tormented Italian Lorenzi with a heady mix of laser-sighted serves and stinging ground-strokes.
After squandering five match points on the Lorenzi serve, the fourth seed finished it off with his ninth ace to set up a second round meeting with either French Julien Benneteau or Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller.
Somdev Dev Varman battled hard for more than three hours but had to bow out of the Wimbledon losing his first-round match to 15th seed Polish Jerzy Janowicz.
The Indian’s 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6 defeat was his 10th first-round defeat in his last 13 tournaments as he has been struggling since winning the Delhi Open.
In all three Grand Slams this season, Somdev has failed to cross the first round, and it was against the same opponent that She had lost a gruelling five-setter at the Australian Open.
Sabine Lisicki, last year’s women’s singles runner-up, opened her Wimbledon campaign with an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory over Israel’s Julia Glushko.
Stanislas Wawrinka bludgeoned his way into the second round for the first time in three years, with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Portugal’s Joao Sousa on Tuesday.
Third seed Simona Halep made the most of the Centre Court stage gifted to her in a scheduling change, disposing of her Brazilian opponent Teliana Pereira 6-2, 6-2 in a clinical display.
Serena Williams began her quest for a sixth women's singles title with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over fellow American Anna Tatishvili. (Reuters)