Nadal ends Wimbledon losing streak

Posted June 24, 2014, at 5:44 p.m.

WIMBLEDON, England — Rafael Nadal ended his two-year losing streak at Wimbledon with a four-set win while Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova cruised into the next round without dropping a set.

Nadal, a two-time champion, on Tuesday beat Slovakia’s Martin Klizan, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Centre Court at the All England Club.

“These first-round matches are always so dangerous, I am happy to have got through,” Nadal said in a televised interview, after he let out a yelp, raised his arms and looked up to the sky following the 700th match win of his career.

Before Tuesday, Nadal last won a match at Wimbledon in the first round of 2012, before Lukas Rosol ousted him in his next round. Belgium’s Steve Darcis beat him in the first round last year, and for one set against Klizan it looked like history was about to repeat itself as the 51st-ranked Slovak attacked his forehand. Nadal took control after that, as he produced more winners and increased his first-serve percentage.

The 28-year-old Spaniard faces Rosol in the next round after the hard-hitting Czech defeated France’s Benoit Paire in four sets.

“Another tough one,” said Nadal, the current French Open champion. “I have to fight for every point.”

Nadal didn’t have the best preparation on grass, dropping his opening match in Halle, Germany, to Dustin Brown shortly after winning a record-extending ninth Roland Garros title.

Earlier in the day, Federer fired 40 winners including nine aces past Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi to move to the second round of Wimbledon. Federer, a seven-time champion, defeated the 83rd- ranked Lorenzi, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 on Court No. 1.

French Open winner Maria Sharapova rushed past British wild card Samantha Murray, 6-1, 6-0. The Russian is trying to become the first woman player since Serena Williams in 2002 to complete the French Open-Wimbledon double. Sharapova won the title at Wimbledon a decade ago, beating Williams in the finals.

“It was a solid match overall,” Federer said in a news conference. “I served well, returned well, also tried to come forward a bit. I could really do everything out there, so I’m very pleased with the first round.”

Federer, a men’s record 17-time major singles champion, was ousted in the second round last year by then 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky who handed him his earliest defeat at Wimbledon since 2002.

This season, Federer has made some changes, hiring 1988 and 1990 Wimbledon champion Stefan Edberg at the start of the season as his coach and switching to a more powerful racket. After dropping as low as No. 7 on the ATP World Tour rankings last year, Federer is back in the top four.

Tuesday against Lorenzi, Federer rushed to the net 42 times, winning the point 71 percent of the time.

He said Edberg, one of the best serve-and-volley specialists of his generation when the Wimbledon grass courts were quicker than today, had inspired him to come to the net more.

“It could be that little extra piece to the puzzle that could bring me through, to have that extra option,” Federer said. “Also the racket is helping me to serve overall more powerful, higher percentage,” said Federer, the father of four after his wife, Mirka, gave birth to a second set of twins last month.

Just like Federer and Nadal, women’s top seed Serena Williams has a point to prove at Wimbledon and the the five-time champion rolled by fellow American Anna Tatishvili, 6-1, 6-2.

Last year’s runner-up Sabine Lisicki opened play on Centre Court with a 6-3, 6-0 win against Israel’s Julia Glushko. The German had upset Williams in the fourth round, before losing in the finals against Marion Bartoli. The Frenchwoman, who retired from tennis 39 days after winning Wimbledon, watched her friend Lisicki from the royal box.

Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. The Swiss player had been ousted from the first round at the French Open.

France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a two-time semifinalist, defeated Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. The men were halted 5-4 in the fifth set about 8 p.m. Monday due to rain and darkness.

Former top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, former winner Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, Britain’s Heather Watson, former runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Japan’s 10th- seeded Kei Nishikori and Eastbourne champion Madison Keys of the U.S. all won.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, a former French Open and U.S. Open winner from Russia, lost to Portugal’s Michelle Larcher de Brito in three sets.

 

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