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Nadal eases past journeyman Russell at Wimbledon


Baku – APA. Rafael Nadal’s campaign to capture a third Wimbledon title and his 11th Grand Slam crown enjoyed a comfortable start on Monday with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over American journeyman Michael Russell, APA reports quoting AFP.

Nadal, fresh from a record-equalling sixth French Open, was only troubled briefly by his 33-year-old opponent who broke the world number one to lead 4-2 in the first set.

But Russell, who has never got beyond the second round, was made to pay for his brief rebellion against the established order as Nadal then reeled off six games in succession to take the opener and lead 2-0 in the second set.

Nadal was quickly 4-1 ahead in the third set and there was no way back for the world 91 as the top seed, who unleashed 35 winners, set up a second round meeting with Ryan Sweeting of the United States.

Sweeting came from two sets down to beat Spain’s Pablo Andjuar in five.

Nadal’s win also extended his perfect record of having never lost a first round match at a Grand Slam event with the 25-year-old now standing at 29-0 in his career.

That’s two better than Bjorn Borg who finished his career with a record of 27-0 in Grand Slam first round matches.

Nadal said he was delighted to be able to return to Wimbledon to defend his title, something which was denied him in 2009 because of a knee injury.

It’s a very, very big emotion to come back to this beautiful court. Everything was perfect," Nadal said.

"I didn’t play the first match in 2009. It’s a real pleasure."

But Nadal refused to look too far ahead in the tournament and possible showdowns with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

"Let’s not talk about what might happen in 12 days. I might be here or I might be home fishing in Majorca," said Nadal.

"I have played Sweeting twice this year at the Australian Open and in Indian Wells. He is a good player. I have seen him winning matches."

Nadal has become such a favourite at the All England Club that even his parents Sebastian and Ana Maria were invited to watch their son from the Royal Box.

"It was fantastic to see them in the Royal Box and great of the All England Club to have invited them. It was a great experience for them," Nadal said.

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