- Wimbledon, Day One
Murray clinical as he shrugs off Becker challenge
Andy Murray was more Roger Federer than Rafa Nadal on Monday - easing into the second round of Wimbledon against Benjamin Becker after only a few minor troubles.
Finishing not long after Nadal had suffered a shock straight sets defeat to the unheralded Steve Darcis out on Court One, Murray outclassed Becker 6-4 6-3 6-2 to ease into the second round.
It was not quite as serene as Federer's progression - the Swiss was imperious to start the day's show court action - but Murray was similarly comfortable, moving on with the minimum of fuss.
"He played some very tennis and did not give much away," Murray said afterwards. "I just managed to get breakthroughs right at the end of the first two sets and then in the third I played a little better.
"It was a tough start, he's a very good grass court player. I was ready, and to win in three sets is a good start.
"There's always nerves ahead of the first match at a slam, especially here, so it was good to get it out of the way."
Murray will not face Jamie Ward in an all-British second round tie, however, after he lost in four sets to Yen-Hsun Lu late in the day.
Taking to Centre Court for the third match of the day, Murray initially struggled to assert his superiority over Becker as the wily German clung diligently to him. But a late break paved the way for the Scot to clinch the opening set, giving him a platform that he would carry on for the remainder of the contest.
The second set followed a similar pattern; Becker posing some questions with his awkward returns, but Murray usually finding the answers and impressing with his more versatile game. Another timely break duly enabled him to clinch the second set, easing any lingering tension among the British supporters in attendance.
Perhaps with the atmosphere around him no more relaxed - not to mention the fact Becker appeared slightly dispirited - Murray opened up his shoulders a bit more and began finding lines with some fluid groundstrokes, feasting on some toothless serves to run away with the contest.
Clinical without being particularly impressive, the victory was the most important thing for the world No. 2
Murray now knows he will not face Nadal in the semi-finals, a contest that many considered highly likely when the draw was announced on Friday. But the Spaniard's demise was a reminder that progression to the latter stages is not guaranteed, even for the world's best players.
"It's obviously surprising, but that's sport," Murray noted. "Rafa has not played on grass much this year, or last year, and Darcis likes the grass courts and is a very talented player. It can happen."
Murray will now face Yen-Hsun Lu for a place in the third round, after the Taiwanese player successfully defeated a well-supported James Ward out on Court 12.
Ward was desperate to book a memorable meeting with his compatriot but, despite some encouraging moments, was outdone by his mercurial opponent - eventually faltering to a 6-7(4) 6-4 7-6(11) 7-6(4) defeat.
Nadal may no longer be in Murray's half of the draw but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remains in his quarter, the Frenchman overcoming a difficult start against talented young Belgian David Goffin to clinch an eventual 7-6(4) 6-4 6-3. The pair could meet in the quarter-finals.
Elsewhere, there was another boost for Murray - potential fourth round opponent Janko Tipsarevic suffering a surprise defeat to Viktor Troicki. There were also wins for Marin Cilic, John Isner, Nicolas Almagro, Tommy Robredo and Mikhail Youzhny.