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The Independent Online

Andy Murray got his Wimbledon challenge off to a solid start when he won the first set of his first-round match against Robert Kendrick on Centre Court.

The British number one broke his opponent's serve in the first game of the match and the American appeared to be troubled by nerves as he attempted to dash the expectations of the home crowd.

It looked as if Murray might breeze past a player who had never beaten anyone in the top 20, but Kendrick took advantage of a double fault from the Scot to claw back the break in the eighth game.

The American's flat forehand and big serve were starting to give Murray problems but the Scot's percentage game was the more steady and a wild forehand wide of the tramlines from Kendrick secured the crucial break in the 11th game to allow Murray to serve out the set 7-5.

Kendrick was much more competitive after switching his game plan to keep the ball away from Murray's dangerous backhand.

His serve was more solid, too, and he was playing much better than in his last meeting against Murray on grass when he lost in two sets without winning a game.

One diving volley from Kendrick in the ninth game was reminiscent of Boris Becker in his prime.

And when the set went to a tie-break it was the American, aided by a Murray double fault, who dominated proceedings, a spectacular forehand clinching the breaker 7-3 to tie the match at one set each.

There was an air of apprehension on Centre Court until the match took a potentially decisive turn in the sixth game of the third set.

Kendrick threw in two uncharacteristics double faults, one of them courtesy of a foot fault which appeared to rattle the American.

It allowed Murray to seize the vital service break and he went on to save a break point in the ninth game before serving out to clinch the set 6-3 to take control of the match at two sets to one.

Murray had two chances to break serve in the third game of the fourth set but Kendrick showed admirable character to dig deep.

It was asking a lot for the American, ranked world number 76, to maintain his standard and his serve faltered in the fifth game of the fourth set when Murray applied the pressure, a fizzing backhand pass giving the Scot the break of serve.

There was a livelier step in Murray's stride and finally he eased the tension on Centre Court, serving out to clinch the set and the match 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-4 to take his place in the second round.