Wimbledon 2017: Rafael Nadal storms into Round 2, completes 850 career wins | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Wimbledon 2017: Rafael Nadal storms into Round 2, completes 850 career wins

Rafael Nadal moved seamlessly from months of claycourt success to a satisfyingly smooth first-round victory on grass as he opened his Wimbledon campaign with a commanding 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Australian John Millman on Monday.

tennis Updated: Jul 03, 2017 23:13 IST
AFP
Rafael Nadal beat Australia’s John Millman 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to advance into the second round of Wimbledon 2017.
Rafael Nadal beat Australia’s John Millman 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to advance into the second round of Wimbledon 2017. (REUTERS)

Rafael Nadal stormed into the Wimbledon second round as the world number two secured his 850th career victory with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 demolition of Australia’s John Millman on Monday.

Fresh from winning his 10th French Open title last month, Nadal marked his 50th match at Wimbledon by crushing Millman in one hour and 46 minutes on Court One.

(Read | World No. 1 Andy Murray proves fitness, marches into second round of Wimbledon)

The two-time Wimbledon champion is just the seventh player to reach the 850-win mark, joining Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Guillermo Villas.

With 217 Grand Slam match victories, Nadal is now in sixth place on the all-time list at the majors.

(Read | Wimbledon 2017: Venus Williams, Simona Halep advance into Round 2)

Nadal, seeded to face defending champion Andy Murray in the semi-finals, will play Donald Young for a place in the last 32 as he bids to win Wimbledon for the first time since 2010.

“I haven’t had many matches on grass for the last few years, but I had some positive feelings,” Nadal said.

“For all the players it’s so special to play here, especially for me with all the history I have here. It’s very emotional to be back.

(Read | Wimbledon 2017: Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga breeze into Round 2)

“I’m happy with the way I started. I’ve been playing well since the beginning of the season.

“The clay-court season was special for me and now I have an opportunity to compete on grass.”

Having won the French Open without dropping a single set, Nadal has made a rare smooth transition to the grass of south-west London.

(Read | Wimbledon 2017: Security beefed up after London attacks)

The 31-year-old Spaniard, beset by chronic knee problems, has struggled to adapt to the low bounce on grass in the latter stages of his career.

He hasn’t been past the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2011, losing to players ranked outside the top 100 on each of his last four visits.

But after missing Wimbledon due to a wrist injury last season and opting against playing a grass-court event after Roland Garros, Nadal had the ideal opponent to get up and running.

Millman, ranked 137th, was playing only his second Tour-level match this year after missing five months with a hip injury.

He was no match for a rampant Nadal and the 15-time Grand Slam champion blitzed his way to victory with a barrage of his trademark top-spin forehands.

Cilic powers past Kohlschreiber

Marin Cilic’s power game proved far too much for Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Wimbledon first round on Monday as the Croatian seventh seed swept his German opponent aside 6-4 6-2 6-3.

(Read | Wimbledon 2017: Two-time champion Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina win 1st Round)

After a tight first set which he edged by snatching the only break point, 6ft 6in tall Cilic increasingly dictated terms with his big forehand and booming serve, which bought him a string of cheap points and dug him out of tight corners.

It wasn’t all brute force from the back of the court, however, as the 28-year-old showed fine touch to close out the second set with a delicate drop shot and serve-volleyed on several occasions to keep 60th-ranked Kohlschreiber off balance.

For 33-year-old Kohlschreiber, the loss extended a woeful recent record at Wimbledon where he has failed to win a match since 2014 and he has now lost in the first round at the All England Club seven times.