Third seed Andy Murray is through to the second round of the Wimbledon men’s singles, but he dropped a set to American Robert Kendrick before eventually progressing 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-4.
Murray, who has a realistic chance of becoming the first British man to win the tournament since Fred Perry in 1936, now faces Latvian Ernests Gulbis for a place in the last 32 after a tough match that lasted over two-and-a-half hours. The Scot got off to an ideal start, breaking his opponent’s serve in the opening game and winning the first 11 points on his own to seize an early advantage. Kendrick levelled things up at 4-4 but Murray broke again to clinch the set in the 12th game of the set. The second set was dropped on a tie-break but Murray resumed control of the match when the American double faulted twice to concede a 4-2 lead in the third. Kendrick, world ranked 76th, was broken in the fifth game of the fourth set when Murray zipped a backhand past the American and, from then on, Murray held his serve to secure a hard-fought victory. Murray told the BBC: “It was a tough match. He served great for three sets. He was very aggresive and I didn’t play as well as I would have liked, although I was happy with my serve. “I didn’t hit my groundstrokes well to begin with, but the longer the match went on the better that I got and I’m happy to have gone through,” added the British number one. Meanwhile, Andy Roddick maintained his record of never having lost in the first round at Wimbledon — but he was far from convincing against France’s Jeremy Chardy.
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Sixth seed Roddick, twice a beaten finalist here, opened the match with two aces and raced into a 5-0 lead for the loss of just three points in 12 minutes on Centre Court. But after taking the first set 6-3 and the second on a tie-break, Roddick lost the third set and looked bereft of ideas before a timely ‘comfort break’ helped the former world number one regain his composure and secure a 6-3 7-6 4-6 6-3 victory. In other matches, fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro produced the most impressive performance of the day with a crushing straight sets victory over Frenchman Arnaud Clement on Court One. The Argentine raced to a 6-3 6-1 6-2 victory in just 97 minutes to set up an intriguing second-round clash with former champion Lleyton Hewitt — who eased past American Robby Ginepri in straight sets. “Clement is a good player. He knows how you play on this surface and reached the quarterfinals last year. I prefer hard courts for sure, but I want to learn how to play on this surface,” Del Potro told reporters. Hewitt, the 2002 champion but unseeded this year, said in a press conference: “It’s gonna be a tough match. He is a class player. He was only a couple of points from maybe winning the French Open a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s a different surface and he hasn’t had the best success but, as I said, he is a class player. He’s an all-court player. He’s got a big game. It’s going to be a good challenge.” There were also first round victories for seeds Nikolay Davydenko (12), Tommy Haas (24), Tomas Berdych (20), Radek Stepanek (23), David Ferrer (16) and Fernando Gonzalez (10).