Wimbledon - Murray settles nerves with opening win
Britain's Andy Murray overcame a nervy start to ease through to the second round at Wimbledon, his class finally telling in a 7-5 6-1 6-2 victory over unheralded Czech Jan Hajek.
The 23-year-old, as ever the only realistic hope of a home champion, fell 2-1 behind to an early break against the world number 90, but he levelled in game eight and sealed the opener in 45 minutes after Hajek ballooned a backhand long.
Hajek's game, which in the early stages featured some defiant forehands and a nice drop shot, imploded thereafter and Murray, the fourth seed, wrapped up the win when the Czech netted a service return on a sun-baked Court One.
"I didn't get to the net too often but when I did I felt good," Murray said.
"If you pick the right moments to go into the net on grass you get a lot of pretty easy volleys. I have practised a lot the last five or six days, just hitting a lot of volleys.
"They're the ones you need to make sure you are focused on so you're able to shorten the points, especially against the best players you need to be able to do that."
"He doesn't hand matches to you," the Brit said. "You have to go out and beat him. He's not going to make many mistakes."
Like Laura Robson on Monday, wildcard Heather Watson gave a good account of herself as she took on Italy's Romina Oprandi out on Court 18.
The former US Open girls winner dropped the first set but stormed back with a dominant second set before being pegged back 6-4 1-6 6-3 to the Italian who had never before won a Grand Slam match.
But the second set and the fact that Watson gave as good as she got in the final set, breaking back at 2-4 down and saving two match points in the final game will be encouraging to the 18-year-old.
Anne Keothavong, on the other hand, really should have done better against Australia's Anastasia Rodionova as she squandered a one set lead and also a double break lead in the final set to be beaten 3-6 6-2 6-4.
"Nerves got the better of me to be honest," the world number 155 said. "I fought my heart out out there but she held her nerve better than I did."
World number 253 Jamie Baker, also a wildcard and the only British male in the draw other than Andy Murray, put in a battling performance before going down 7-6(4) 6-3 6-4 to German Andreas Beck, ranked 174 places higher than him.
Elena Baltacha, Laura Robson, Melanie South and Katie O'Brien all exited the tournament on day one.