Photo: Paul ZimmerRafael Nadal (ESP)
After 47 minutes of play in the match between Rafael Nadal and Martin Klizan, the Centre Court crowd could be forgiven for thinking that it could be witnessing another early exit for Spain’s best player.
Slovakia’s Martin Klizan came out firing and blasted his way into a one-set lead to leave the two-time Wimbledon champion teetering on the brink of an early exit for the third straight year at the All England Club.
Klizan’s dominance didn’t last, however, and the King of Clay was able to battle back to win the match 46 63 63 63 in just shy of three hours on a blisteringly hot day in London.
“In the end the match was difficult,” surmised Nadal. “After the first set, [it] was even more difficult. I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match. I think I can do it better than what I did today, but at the same time I know I will not play today at my 100 per cent.”
Nadal will play Lukas Rosol in the second round in a repeat of the match that saw the Spaniard head home early two years ago and there is no doubt that he will be looking to make amends for that loss.
Another player who fell early last year was seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer. The Swiss made light work of his first round opponent on Court No. 1 on this year though, defeating Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 61 61 63 to book his place in the second round against Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller.
There were also victories for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (in a rain-delayed five set encounter against Jurgen Melzer), Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and John Isner.
In the women’s draw, Sabine Lisicki opened proceedings on Centre Court (in the absence of last year’s champion Marion Bartoli) and she commenced with an easy win against Israel’s Julia Glushko 62 61. Serena Williams was in a similar mood, dispatching Anna Tatishvili 61 62 in just over an hour.
The biggest upset of the day saw No. 7 seed Jelena Jankovic ousted 63 62 by Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, but there were also losses for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sara Errani, Sorana Cirstea, Roberta Vinci and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The ITF produces men's match notes at Wimbledon. For a full list of the notes please click here.