World number one Rafael Nadal started his grass-court season on an emphatic note as he defeated Israel’s Dudi Sela in straight sets to advance to the second round of Wimbledon 2018. The Spaniard, seeded second behind 2017 champion Roger Federer registered an easy straight sets victory by 6-3,6-3, 6-2 against the world number 127. This is the second time when the Spaniard has arrived at the prestigious All England Championships with no warm-up tournaments on the grass surface. Nadal faces Canada’s Vasil Pospisil or Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin next in the second round.
In 2017, the 32-year old reached the fourth round in SW19 but failed to cross the Gilles Muller hurdle and lost an intense five-setter.
During the match against Sela, Nadal looked comfortable on a surface he had not played on for a year. He broke early in the first set and as he settled into his big serves and the grass courts, his game gained momentum.
However, at times Sela surprised the Spaniard by matching his athleticism and managed to inspire the crowd who appreciated his efforts. But, during that course Sela also gave too much away. He gifted Nadal the break in the first game of the second set when he hit a straightforward volley at the net and from then on seemed resigned to his fate against an energetic-looking Nadal.
Later, Nadal needed just three match points to settle the encounter, which he did with his trademark powerful backhand. It was overall a complete performance from the Roland Garros champion who is eager to add the third Wimbledon title to his illustrious cabinet.
In the other match, Germany’s tennis player Alexander Zverev defeated James Duckworth of Australia 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 on Tuesday to reach Wimbledon’s second round. The world No. 3 needed an hour and 30 minutes to dismiss Duckworth, keeping his dream of winning his maiden Grand Slam title alive, reports Efe.
In the next round, fourth-seed Zverev is set to take on world No. 68 Taylor Fritz of the United States, who came from behind to beat Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Elsewhere at Wimbledon, world No. 18 Nick Kyrgios of Australia advanced to the second round after beating Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (5-7), 6-3.
The 23-year-old Kyrgios hit a career-high 42 aces against his world No. 92 opponent, and won 83 percent of his first-serve points. Kyrgios is set to face either world No. 43 Robin Haase of the Netherlands or Romania’s Marius Copil, world No. 94.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, world No. 28, defeated Christian Harrison of the United States 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2. The 28-year-old needed two hours and 37 minutes to subdue Wimbledon debutant Harrison, world No. 198, and advance to the second round for the seventh time in his career.
Nishikori, who struck eight aces compared to Harrison’s six, will next take on Australia’s Bernard Tomic, world No. 184, who beat Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2). World No. 17 Kyle Edmund of Britain has also advanced to the round of 64 after beating Alex Bolt of Australia 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.
In the upcoming round, Edmund is due to play the United States’ Bradley Klahn, world No. 168, who pulled off an upset win against world No. 69 Yuichi Sugita of Japan.
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro qualified for the second round for the ninth time in his career after beating Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. World No. 4 Del Potro took one hour and 50 minutes to beat his world No. 39 opponent, firing 22 aces and 37 winners compared to Gojowczyk’s three and 22, respectively.
Del Potro will next take on Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, world No. 70, who beat world No. 88 Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. Elsewhere at Wimbledon, world No. 98 Radu Albot of Moldova pulled off a dramatic upset over world No. 12 Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain 3-6, 6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1.
(With IANS Inputs)