Andy Murray begins defense of Wimbledon title with convincing win over Alexander Bublik

Top seed Andy Murray eased into the second round of Wimbledon as he dismantled lucky loser Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. Murray looked at his very best, shaking off an ankle injury to see off the Kazakh in an hour and 44 minutes. The Brit fired 29 winners and withstood 15 aces from his confident opponent, who came out swinging freely.

Bublik, who describes his game as unpredictable (he says he doesn’t know what shot to hit until the ball is coming to him), had two early break chances, but Murray was able to fend those off to post an opening hold. After the lucky loser held, the Brit swept through the next five games of the set, Bublik double-faulting twice in the fourth game to set up break point for the defending champion, duly taken with a forehand winner down the line. Another forehand winner gave Murray a 5-1 lead as winners were coming at key times for the world number one. More errors, including a sliced forehand into the net gives Murray the first set.

The second set was much more competitive as Bublik cut down on his mistakes, but he was broken to open, the serve still inconsistent, another double-fault aiding the loss of serve. That opening break was all Murray needed, but the 135th-ranked Kazakh showed flashes of what he could do, a drop shot and forehand winner in the third game to hold and back-to-back aces in the fifth game also kept him within touch.

The third set resembled more of the first as a brief rain delay halted play. Before the stoppage, Bublik was broken for the sixth time with three more double faults, his total now at 11. Murray gave his 20-year old opponent an opening in the fourth game as Bublik went ahead 0-30 on the Brit’s serve, a break point eventually saved with an ace and unreturnable serve. The Kazakh fired down three aces to pull to within 3-2, but making little impression on the Murray serve, there was little chance for a comeback as Murray ran out the final three games, a second match point at 40-15 seeing Bublik commit one final error and sending Murray into the second round with a comfortable victory.

The second round will see Murray play the entertaining Dustin Brown, who advanced past Joao Sousa in four sets. The German has recorded his two biggest wins at Wimbledon, knocking off Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal in 2013 and 2015 and, like Bublik, he is unpredictable, but unlike the Kazakh, has an array of shots and usually plays them at the right time. Their only career meeting was seven years ago at the U.S. Open, the Brit emerging with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 win.

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