Murray begins brightly

Murray begins brightly

All was as it should be on the opening day of Wimbledon as returning British hero Andy Murray began the defence of his historic title with an accomplished first-round victory on Monday.

Under bright skies, with the green Centre Court grass glistening and Murray resplendent in spotless white attire, the 27-year-old walked out to a standing ovation and proceeded to reward his fans by dismantling Belgium's David Goffin.

It has not all been plain sailing for Murray since his spine-tingling defeat of Serbian Novak Djokovic last July to become the first home men's singles champion at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936.

Back surgery, a split with coach Ivan Lendl and up-and-down form meant there were a few question marks over the third seed ahead of the biggest fortnight of his year, but he answered them with an emphatic 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 victory.

Watched by his grandparents in the Royal Box and new coach Amelie Mauresmo, Murray delivered a dominant display against a lightweight opponent who played the supporting role to perfection, engaging in some thrilling baseline duels but never really threatening to rain on Murray's parade.

Stosur ousted

Those packed in early on the snug Court Three watched Australian 17th seed Samantha Stosur become the first big-name casualty, the former US Open champion falling to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat by Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.

American 18th seed Sloane Stephens, a quarterfinalist here last year, was also out before desserts were served in the hospitality areas, losing 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) against Russian Maria Kirilenko.

There was an early scare, too, for men's sixth seed Tomas Berdych, but he rallied from a set down to beat Romania's Victor Hanescu while Latvian Ernests Gulbis, a surprise semifinalist at the French Open this month, won three tight sets against Estonia's Jurgen Zopp.
Results (first round, prefix denotes seedings): Men : 3-Andy Murray (UK) bt David Goffin (Bel) 6-1, 6-4, 7-5; 17-Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) bt James Ward (UK) 6-2, 6-2, 6-1; Jimmy Wang (Tai) bt Alejandro Gonzalez (Col) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2; 6-Tomas Berdych (Cze) bt Victor Hanescu (Rou) 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3; 12-Ernests Gulbis (Lat) bt Juerge Zopp (Est) 7-6 (7-6), 7-5,7-6 (12-10); Marinko Matosevic (Aus) bt 18-Fernando Verdasco (Esp) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; Gilles Simon (Fra) bt Konstantin Kravchuk (Rus) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5; Blaz Rola (Slo) bt Pablo Andujar (Esp) 6-3, 6-1, 6-4; Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr) bt Carlos Berlocq (Arg) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.Women: Peng Shuai (Chn) bt Johanna Konta (UK) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt 18-Sloane Stephens (US) 6-2, 7-6 (8-6); Ana Konjuh (Cro) beat Marina Erakovic (Nzl) 6-3 4-6 6-0; Polona Hercog (Slo) bt Paula Ormaechea (Arg) 6-4, 6-4; Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze) bt Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) 6-2, 6-2; Misaki Doi (Jpn) bt Elina Svitolina (Ukr) 6-4, 6-1; Yanina Wickmayer (Bel) bt 17-Samantha Stosur (Aus) 6-3, 6-4; 32-Elena Vesnina (Rus) bt Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (Aut) 6-0, 6-4.

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