Jun 21 2011 By Colin Mackenzie
No sooner is the drought made official than the rains arrive to threaten Wimbledon. The Centre Court's new roof came of age yesterday as Andy Murray put his previous experience of this unique venue to good use by beating Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver - but only after hiccupping in the first set.
But once the Spaniard had upset the No 4 seed he had good cause to regret it. He stayed competitive for one more set which he lost to Murray 6-3 before losing the final two sets to love. True, he called in the trainer at 5-0 down in the third set because of a knee strain. But in truth his spirit was broken by some brilliant Murray counter punching.
The latter said; "I've played him before and I've knocked up with him. I don't think I played badly in the first set. He just played terrific. But once I broke him in the second set I played well." The result was a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 annihilation.
Murray played Stan Wawrinka under the roof in 2009 in a match that proved much tougher than yesterday's first round which was, eventually, little more than a stroll in the suburbs for the recent winner of the Aegon tournament at Queen's Club.
Earlier Francesca Schiavone had completed her first round defeat of a resurgent Jelena Dokic under the roof after the match was halted at 1-1 in the final set because of the onset of rain at 5pm. The 2010 winner of the French Open had never previously beaten Dokic but prevailed 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in a hard hitting contest.
Dokic, a little heavier than the 16-year-old who shocked Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis 12 years ago, had a result over Schiavone in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year. She is rebuilding her career following injury and is up to 45 in the world. But Schiavone had just too much subtlety for her yesterday.
Rafael Nadal also had moments of doubt as he trailed American journeyman Michael Russell 2-4 in the first set of their Centre Court encounter. But, as with Murray, once the better player was threatened he fought back and the Wimbledon champion prevailed 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
England's Katie O'Brien made her customary first round exit on Show Court Three when succumbing to 40-year-old Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm. O'Brien was totally overwhelmed in the first set 6-0. But she bravely fought back in the second set until succumbing 7-5.
Wimbledon is likely to be threatened by rain later this week. But today (Tuesday) forecasters predict a full day's play, allowing Serena Williams to display her talent.
Serena, the current Wimbledon champion, has been largely absent from the WTA tour for the past 12 months because of injury although she lost early at Eastbourne last week.
Sister Venus played on Monday, beating Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan in straight sets.