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Murray made to work for first round win at Wimbledon

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Andy Murray was given a stern test in his first round match against Mikhail Kukushkin, but the Brit remained on course for a second Wimbledon title as he defeated his Kazakh opponent 6-4 7-6 6-4.

The former Wimbledon champion was at times under severe pressure due to the power of Kukushkin, but Murray weathered the barrage of heavy hitting to come through in straight sets.

In the opening set, both players were untroubled on their service games as Kukushkin’s aggression was matched by Murray’s solid play. However, the Brit’s consistency was eventually rewarded at 5-4. The Kazakh player bravely saved two set points with an unreturnable serve and a gutsy backhand winner, but Murray’s variety extracted another error from his opponent to seal the first set 6-4.

The Brit quickly raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set with an early break, but Kukushkin was refusing to lie down, breaking his opponent back. Murray was forced to save break points to eventually build a 5-3 lead, but the Brit was still unable to close out the set. Kukushkin benefitted from Murray’s low first serve percentage and errors to retrieve the break, and inflicted further punishment when a crushing forehand down the line left the Kazakh player serving for the set. But, the former Wimbledon champion responded, recovering the deficit to ensure the set would go to a tie-break, and thoroughly dominated it to establish a two set lead.

The third set saw both players hold serve easily early on, but Murray finally made the breakthrough at 2-2, as a Kukushkin groundstroke drifted wide to hand Murray the crucial break. The Brit maintained his lead to serve for the match, and despite facing break points, Murray dug deep to eventually complete the victory and move into the second round.

Murray will go on to face Robin Haase in the second round, as the Dutchman needed four sets to get past Alejandro Falla of Columbia.

In the other matches, Roger Federer will meet Sam Querry in the second round after the Swiss player breezed past Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-3 6-3, whilst Rafael Nadal beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-4 6-2 6-4. There were also wins for Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Feliciano Lopez, but Kyle Edmund went down 7-6 6-1 6-2 to Alexandr Dolgopolov.

On the women’s side, Heather Watson joined the defending champion Petra Kvitova and former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round of SW19, but there were upsets as Simona Halep, Eugenie Bouchard and Laura Robson all lost their first round contests.

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