Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WIMBLEDON: Murray survives Kukushkin threat on day two


There were no mouth ulcers or extreme nerves for Andy Murray heading into Wimbledon this time around but the Scot still had to deal with 30+ degree temperatures and a feisty Mikhail Kukushkin to secure passage into the second round.

Murray, the No3 seed, began his pursuit of a second Wimbledon crown with a 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over the Russian-born Kazakh in the first round on Tuesdat.

Returning to Centre Court - the site of his greatest triumph so far, where he lifted the trophy in 2013 to end Great Britain’s 77-year men’s singles title drought at Wimbledon, Murray made a solid start before things got tricky for him in the second set.

“I didn't feel unbelievably nervous. Still goosebumps and stuff, butterflies in the stomach when you walk out there. But I didn't get myself too worked up before, last night or this morning. I slept very well and was fine,” said the 28-year-old Scot.

After breaking in the 10th game of the match to take a one-set lead, Murray opened up a 3-0 advantage in the second set before getting pegged back.

He broke Kukushkin again and led 5-2 but then lost four games in a row as the Kazakh went ahead to serve for the second set at 6-5 with some aggressive play that threw Murray off his game.

Murray retaliated to force a tiebreak and he recovered from his brief dip to take a commanding two-set lead.

One break in the fifth game of the third set was all he needed to complete his victory and book a second round against Dutchman Robin Haase, who has given him trouble at the US Open in the past. Murray is yet to lose a first round at Wimbledon as is now 10-0 in opening matches here.

“For me it's a bit frustrating because you obviously want to go out there and sort of perform as best you can, whereas today I didn't feel like I was able to do that because of the way that he was playing,” Murray said of his Kukushkin test.

“He was hitting the ball this high over the net and so flat and down the line. It's very difficult to dictate points when your opponent's playing like that.”

Meanwhile, No13 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a possible fourth round opponent for Murray, endured a difficult five-setter against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg before going through 7-6 (8), 6-7 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in three hours and 51 minutes.

Tsonga had an abdominal injury heading into Wimbledon but said he felt "100 per cent" on court on Tuesday.

Sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych beat Jeremy Chardy well past sunset, posting a 6-2, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5). A few minutes more and the match would have had to get suspended for darkness.

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