Rio Olympics 2016: Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal breeze in stormy conditions

AFP August 08, 2016 03:23:45 IST
Rio Olympics 2016: Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal breeze in stormy conditions

Rio de Janeiro: Defending champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams, as well as 2008 winner Rafael Nadal, defied high winds and controversy over court conditions to breeze into the second round of the Olympic tennis tournament on Sunday.

Wimbledon champion Murray, the second seed, clinched an eighth win in eight meetings against Serbia's Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 6-2.

Murray, playing for the first time since securing his second career All England Club title, next faces Argentina's Juan Monaco, one of his closest friends on tour.

Rio Olympics 2016 Serena Williams Andy Murray Rafael Nadal breeze in stormy conditions

Andy Murray in action at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. AP

"I was a little bit nervous at the start. I haven't played on a hard court for a while and the conditions weren't easy," said 29-year-old Murray.

Nadal, playing his first match in two months, made the second round with a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 win over Federico Delbonis of Argentina.

The 30-year-old Spaniard, sidelined by a left wrist injury since the French Open, set up a clash with Italian veteran Andreas Seppi who he has beaten eight times in nine meetings.

But the 14-time major winner was unhappy with the state of the video screen lighting on Court One, claiming he couldn't see the ball.

"The screen was in the middle of the arena and when my opponent hit the ball in this region, I couldn't see it," said Nadal who missed the London Games with a knee injury.

"We can't play like that, it is the reality."

Williams, the 34-year-old world number one, can take her gold medal count to six if she repeats as Olympic singles and doubles champion.

She had the perfect start, defeating Australia's Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-2.

Williams, sporting a patriotic Stars and Stripes hairband on centre court, will face either Sweden's Johanna Larsson or Alize Cornet of France.

She will be hoping it is Larsson as Frenchwoman Cornet famously defeated her three times in 2014, including at Wimbledon.

Play 'almost impossible'

Winds of up to 25km/h (15mph) caused havoc with tempers as well as with the second day schedule.

Matches on outside courts were delayed by between 90 minutes and two hours as gusts buffeted the Barra complex.

"It was really intense. I think my last Olympic final four years ago was really windy too," said Williams.

"Today they couldn't start the matches on the outside courts. I was a little nervous about that so I was happy to get through."

Serena also confirmed that she and sister Venus will play doubles later in the day.

The 36-year-old Venus was knocked out of the singles on Saturday with her US team saying she was suffering from a virus.

German second seed Angelique Kerber, who defeated Serena to win the Australian Open in January, hit back from 2-5 down in the second set to defeat Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-3, 7-5.

Kerber next faces Canada's Eugenie Bouchard.

Play opened as scheduled on centre court where German entertainer Dustin Brown made a tearful, injury-enforced exit.

Brown, playing with his flowing dreadlocks tucked inside a white rasta beanie hat, retired in the second set of his clash with home hope Thomaz Bellucci after turning his left ankle in a nasty-looking fall.

World number 86 Brown, who dumped Nadal out of Wimbledon in 2015, took an injury time-out to have his ankle strapped but quit in tears moments later.

Brown had won the first set 6-4 but was down 4-5 in the second when he called it quits.

"It was almost impossible," said 28-year-old Bellucci.

"I don't know how they allowed us to play like this. The wind was so fast and the match became ugly."

Later Sunday, top seed Novak Djokovic gets his campaign underway when he faces Argentine giant Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion.

Del Potro endured a nightmare build-up to the centre court showdown when he was stranded in a broken down elevator at the athletes' village for 40 minutes.

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