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Wimbledon: Andy Murray begins title defence with a bang

Andy Murray made an impressive start to his Wimbledon title defence as the third seed swept into the second round with a 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Belgium's David Goffin on Monday

London: Defending champion Andy Murray breezed through his Wimbledon opener on Monday with a confident 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 win over baby-faced Belgian David Goffin.

Third-seeded Murray, bidding to become the first British man to successfully defend a Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, hit eight aces and 28 winners.

"I thought it was a very high standard of match, we played some great rallies, and I was glad to finish it in three sets because he was playing very well," said Murray.

"Sometimes you can win in three and not play well but in terms of the way I struck the ball it was a good start."

Andy Murray
Andy Murray returns against Belgian David Goffin during his men's singles first round match on day one of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, London, on Monday. Pic/AFP 

The British star was never broken as he brushed past the 23-year-old Goffin, the world number 104, with new coach Amelie Mauresmo as well as former NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal looking on from the Centre Court stands.

Murray, who has made at least the semi-finals on his last five appearances at the All England Club, goes on to face Slovenia's Blaz Rola.

The Scot was joined in the second round by Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, the 2010 runner-up, who came from a set down to beat Romania's Victor Hanescu, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.

Berdych arrived at Wimbledon having joined US veteran Venus Williams in a naked photo shoot for a pre-tournament ESPN magazine special.

Latvian 12th seed Ernests Gulbis, who made the French Open semi-finals, also went into the second round by defeating Estonia's Jurgen Zopp 7-6 (9/7), 7-5, 7-6 (12/10).

Spanish 18th seed Fernando Verdasco, who took Murray to five sets in the quarter-finals in 2013, was knocked out by Australia's Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, the Ukrainian who send seven-time champion Roger Federer crashing to a shock second round loss last year, beat Argentina's Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Later Monday, Novak Djokovic, the 2011 champion and runner-up to Murray in 2013, starts against 26-year-old Kazakh, Andrey Golubev who is ranked 55 and has lost all three of his main draw appearances at Wimbledon.

Despite being number two in the world, Djokovic is the top seed over current world number one Rafael Nadal.

Former women's world number one Victoria Azarenka won her first match since January on the same court where she suffered a knee injury which ended her 2013 hopes.

Azarenka, the eighth seed, won 6-3, 7-5 against Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who was a semi-finalist back in 1999, on Court One.

That was the same arena where she hurt her right knee in a nasty fall in the first round 12 months ago, an injury which sparked her withdrawal from the next round.

- Tough days, setbacks -

This year, the former Australian Open champion has been plagued by a left foot injury which kept her off tour from Indian Wells in March to Eastbourne last week where she lost her opener to Camila Giorgi.

Azarenka now goes on to face Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski.

"The toughest part of being off court was not knowing when I would be back on court, it was day to day, sometimes I made progress, sometimes there were setbacks," said Azarenka.

US 18th seed Sloane Stephens, a quarter-finalist in 2013, was defeated by Russian former top 10 player Maria Kirilenko, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6).

Kirilenko, who had won just one match all year after a lengthy battle with a knee injury, claimed victory on a sixth match point.

"I'm sad my streak is broken," said Stephens, who has reached the fourth round at least at her last six majors.

"It feels like the end of the world now, but fortunately it's not."

Australian 17th seed Samantha Stosur fired 13 aces but still suffered another Wimbledon nightmare when she slumped to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.

The former US Open champion has now failed to get beyond the third round in 12 Wimbledon appearances.

Japanese 43-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm who made her debut 25 years ago, went down 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Russian 22nd seed, Ekaterina Makarova.

"Every year when I play here, I think maybe I don't come back next year. But already I come back I don't know how many times. Five times? Six times? So it's very difficult," said Date Krumm when quizzed on a possible return in 2015.

Later Monday, Chinese second seed Li Na, three times a quarter-finalist, faces Polish qualifier Paula Kania, the world 175, who is making her Grand Slam debut.

Czech sixth seed Petra Kvitova, the 2011 champion, faces compatriot Andrea Hlavackova and ex-world number one Caroline Wozniacki meets Israel's Shahar Peer.

Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher De Brito, who knocked out Maria Sharapova last year, plays another Grand Slam title winning Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Andy admits being nervous before the game

The delight was pretty much evident on the face of defending champ Andy Murray after a comfortable 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 win over David Goffin yesterday. "I was pretty nervous before the match.

But memories from last year got me better. To come out and get that kind of reception was very nice. I think the crowd was pretty much full from the start so it was great.

"It does help if you can get ahead early like I did. I got an early break that helped settle the nerves a bit," he said.

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