Big three cruise as Halep, Bouchard wilt at Wimbledon

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray swept into the Wimbledon second round Tuesday but women’s third seed Simona Halep and 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard slumped to defeat in sweltering London.

Second-seeded Federer, bidding to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon titles and take his majors tally to 18, enjoyed a 67-minute, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia, the world number 88 he beat at the French Open last month.

Federer will face Sam Querrey of the United States for a place in the last 32.

Two-time champion Nadal, defeated in the second, first and fourth rounds in the last three years, enjoyed a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci, his fifth win in five meetings against the 42nd-ranked Brazilian.

Tenth-seeded Nadal, at his lowest ranking for a decade, faces Germany’s Dustin Brown for a place in the last 32. Brown beat him on grass at Halle in 2014.

Temperatures on Tuesday rocketed to around 30 degrees Celsius but Wednesday could top the Wimbledon record of 34C set in 1976.

Organisers say the heat rule, which allows for a 10-minute break between the second and third sets of women’s matches, can be used when temperatures rise above 30.1C.

However, the rule, which has been adopted by Wimbledon after lobbying from the WTA, does not apply to men even though they have to slug it out over the best of five sets.

– Nadal basks in the sun –

Nadal, who hails from in sun-kissed Mallorca, said he would be happy to see the sun keep shining.

“In Australia it can be much, much worse so it’s no comparison but actually it’s beautiful,” said the Spaniard.

“When you have this weather here in Wimbledon it’s probably one of the best places in the world.”

Murray, the 2013 champion, enjoyed a comfortable 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 victory over Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin, the world number 59. The Scot next faces Dutchman Robin Haase.

“It was very hot. That changes the way the court plays and the way the match plays out,” said Murray.

“I was glad to get off in three sets, a couple of hours, because ideally you don’t want to be playing extremely long matches in those conditions,” said Murray.

Defending women’s champion Petra Kvitova, the second seed, barely had time to work up a sweat, taking just 35 minutes to reach the second round in a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kiki Bertens, the world number 108 from the Netherlands.

– ‘No expectations’ for Halep –

Kvitova, also the 2011 champion, dropped just one point on serve and next meets Kurumi Nara of Japan for a place in the third round. Her win was the fastest on the women’s tour in five years.

But Halep, a semi-finalist in 2014, became the tournament’s biggest casualty so far when she lost 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia.

The 22-year-old Cepelova, ranked 106 in the world, had won only one match on the tour all year before Tuesday but had big match experience by beating world number one Serena Williams in Charleston last year.

She goes on to face another Romanian, Monica Niculescu, in the second round.

“I had no expectations coming here but I didn’t expect to lose in the first set,” said Halep.

Also leaving early was the sport’s poster girl Bouchard. The 21-year-old Canadian lost 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 to Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying, the world number 117 who had never previously beaten a player inside the top 75.

The defeat was 12th-seeded Bouchard’s 12th in her last 14 matches and will see her drop out of the world top 20.

However, Bouchard admitted she had played against medical advice having suffered a grade-two abdominal tear at Eastbourne last week.

“Probably would have been smart not to play here, but I couldn’t pass on Wimbledon. So I did minimal preparation to save myself for the match,” said Bouchard.

Danish fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki, 10th-seeded German Angelique Kerber and 13th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland, the runner-up in 2012, went through.


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