FOURTH seed Andy Murray made serene progress into the third round of Wimbledon after a straight sets win over Germany’s Tobias Kranke, but it was an otherwise mixed day for British hopes, encapsulated by Heather Watson’s galling defeat against Sweden’s Mathilde Johansson.
After beginning his campaign in less than commanding fashion against Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Monday, Murray (right) utterly dominated the first two sets against 2010’s ATP World Tour Newcomer of the Year and although the third was more competitive, Murray broke in the 11th game before closing out a 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 win on a windswept Court One.
The 24-year-old was never in danger of surrendering a proud record of never having fallen at either of the opening two hurdles at SW19, but accepts there is room for improvement ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Ivan Ljubicic.
“I served well. The rest of it is going to need some work. It was tricky with the wind and he was hitting the ball hard and flat, which made it difficult to get into a rhythm,” he said.
Top seed Rafael Nadal was in equally ruthless form dropping just nine games under the Centre Court roof on his way to dismissing America’s Ryan Sweeting, but the defending champion still had to contend with questions relating to a supposed dip in form.
“Really?” he replied to his inquisitor. “Two weeks ago, I won Roland Garros. It is my seventh year not out of the top two. Maybe they’re right, I don’t know.
“In general, I think I did well. It’s more humid [under the roof] and the court was a little bit more slippery than normal.”
Elsewhere in the men’s draw there were wins for eight, ninth and 10th seeds Andy Roddick, Gael Monfils and Mardy Fish, while Fernando Verdasco, seeded 21, was the biggest casualty of day three losing in four sets against Robin Haase.
In the women’s draw Watson eventually had the opportunity to play her delayed first round match and looked likely to enhance her blossoming reputation, but the elbow injury she suffered towards the end of the second set, which she won, hampered her severely in the decider.
“This was the hardest defeat of my professional career because it was a great opportunity for me,” said the 19-year-old, who eventually lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“I’m just asking myself now, ‘Why me?’. Why couldn’t it have happened in another tournament? Why this one?”
Compatriot Anne Keothavong was steamrollered 6-2, 6-1 by eighth seed Petra Kvitova, but there was a landmark success for the former junior champion Laura Robson. The 17-year-old won her first career Grand Slam match, ousting Angelique Kerber in three sets to set-up a glamour tie against Maria Sharapova.
OUTSIDE COURT | WEATHER, GOSSIP AND TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS
STAT oF THE DAY
The show courts have hardly been party to many memorable matches thus far. But Venus Williams’s 6-7, 6-3, 8-6 win over Kimiko Date-Krumm certainly bucked the trend on Centre Court yesterday. The Japanese veteran, 40, can take heart from her performance, especially taking into account the fact that when she first appeared at SW19 in 1989, 37 of the women in this year's singles draw weren't even born.
DAY FOUR HIGHLIGHT
After the rumpus caused by Andy Murray’s demotion to Court One yesterday, tournament organisers will no doubt come in for further stick for their decision to keep Laura Robson’s match against Maria Sharapova off Centre Court. “You’re just too fair,” said John McEnroe commenting on the lack of Brit bias in the scheduling.