Andy Murray’s bid for a second Wimbledon title got off to the perfect start as the Scot booked his place in round two with a straight-sets victory over Mikhail Kukushkin.
Kukushkin, ranked 59th in the world, has never been past the third round at the All England Club but the Russian-born Kazakh offered a stiff examination for Murray, who came through 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 on Centre Court.
Murray will now play Holland’s Robin Haase in the second round as he looks to add another triumph to the Wimbledon crown he won two years ago.
Britain has four men in the second round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2006 after Aljaz Bedene and James Ward joined Murray and Liam Broadey in the second round.
Bedene scrapped past veteran Czech battler Radek Stepanek in five sets while Ward claimed a four-set victory over Italy’s lucky loser Luca Vanni.
Slovenia-born Bedene tasted his first Wimbledon victory after taking full British citizenship earlier this year, seeing off Stepanek 7-5 1-6 4-6 6-3 6-4.
And just minutes after the 25-year-old had booked a second-round clash with Viktor Troicki, Ward completed his 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 6-4 6-3 victory over a visibly-flagging Vanni.
Meanwhile, a “pumped up” Heather Watson will target “controlled aggression” to equal her best-ever Wimbledon showing and set up a potential third-round clash with Grand Slam-chasing American, Serena Williams.
British number one Watson saved three match points to defeat Caroline Garcia in a truncated first-round tie that had been suspended for bad light on Monday night.
The 23-year-old prevailed 1-6 6-3 8-6 to set up a second-round clash with Daniela Hantuchova, then revealed she psyched herself up for yesterday’s resumption of play with an intensive workout session.
“I always listen to music before I go on, upbeat, fast, dancy stuff but I did a lot more than usual before we went back out,” said Watson.
“I warmed up for a good half-hour non-stop, quick stuff, lots of sprints just to make sure I was ready.
The fallout from her wrist injury absence haunted Laura Robson at Wimbledon, inconsistencies in technique forcing a straight-sets 6-4 6-4 defeat to Evgeniya Rodina in the first round.