Murray off to winning start at Wimbledon

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray recovered from a shaky start to cruise through his first-round match against Jan Hajek in a rare appearance on Court One this afternoon.

The British number one is more used to being centre stage at Wimbledon but it was not an extended stay on the All England Club's second court as he dispatched his Czech opponent 7-5 6-1 6-2 in little over an hour and a half.

Things did not look quite so straightforward when Hajek broke in only the third game but Murray levelled at 4-4 and from then on it was one-way traffic in favour of the world number four.

Murray was happy with his performance, saying: "I thought it was good. The start was tough, I hadn't seen him play much but I started to play better once I got the break back and the second and third sets were much better."

Little was expected of Hajek, who was playing only his second match at Wimbledon, but Murray will have been well aware of Roger Federer's surprise struggles against Alejandro Falla yesterday, while his own poor form meant nothing could be taken for granted.

The fourth seed began confidently enough with two aces in a love service game but two games later he found himself at 15-40, and a drop shot from Hajek on the second break point was good enough to send the Czech into a shock lead.

And he held onto that despite pressure from Murray, troubling the Scot with some fierce groundstrokes and showing a willingness to come to the net that was not matched by his opponent.

The British number one has won only 11 matches in five months since reaching the Australian Open final but he retrieved the break in the eighth game at the fourth opportunity with a trademark backhand return.

Murray was starting to find his range, displaying a bit more aggression, and he clinched the first set when Hajek sent a backhand long, giving the fourth seed a fifth consecutive point.

Errors were creeping into the world number 90's game and Murray began the second set in perfect fashion by breaking Hajek to take a 2-0 lead.

The 23-year-old's body language in his defeats by Tomas Berdych at the French Open and Mardy Fish at Queen's showed a player ill at ease on the court but there were no signs of frustration today as Murray began to toy with his opponent.

Another break put the home hope 4-0 up before Hajek stopped the rot by holding serve at the third attempt. Murray then had to save only his third break point of the match before serving out the set.

Hajek's chances of troubling Murray had surely gone and the 26-year-old began the third set by taking a medical time-out for treatment to his left leg.

He then started his service game with a double fault before a wild forehand gifted the fourth seed two more break points, of which he needed only one thanks to another error from his opponent.

In contrast, Murray's statistics were firmly in favour of winners while his serve, which has been up and down this season, frequently proved too hot for Hajek.

Another break arrived in the fifth game, putting the Scot within touching distance of round two, although there was a worrying moment in the following game when he fell heavily approaching the net. Fortunately there did not seem to be any damage done.

Although Hajek then held serve, Murray wrapped up a routine win on his second match point when a backhand return from his opponent sailed into the net.

The Scot is set to return to Centre Court on Thursday when the Queen visits Wimbledon. After some negative weekend headlines, he clarified yesterday that he would bow to the monarch and today he again expressed his displeasure with stories to the contrary.

"There were a few things that came out in the press that were totally untrue," he said.