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Nadal Upset in First Round at Wimbledon

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - In one of Wimbledon's greatest upsets, an ailing Rafael Nadal was knocked out in straight sets Monday by a player ranked 135th - the Spaniard's first loss in the opening round of a Grand Slam event.

Steve Darcis of Belgium stunned the two-time champion 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-4. He ended Nadal's 22-match winning streak and eliminated one of the Big Four of men's tennis on the very first day of the grass-court Grand Slam.

Nadal was sidelined for seven months with a left knee injury after losing in the second round of Wimbledon last year. He seemed to be struggling physically. He was unable to turn on the speed or use his legs to spring into his groundstrokes, limping and failing to run for some shots.

Defending champion Roger Federer started his quest for an eighth Wimbledon title with an easy 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 win over Victor Hanescu of Romania on Monday.

In the first match of the year on Centre Court, the third-seeded Federer made light work of his 48th-ranked opponent, needing just 68 minutes to advance to the second round.

Federer, who won his first title at the All England Club 10 years ago, produced 32 winners and did not face a single break point.

Second-seeded Andy Murray of Britain defeated Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the second round at Wimbledon on Monday.

Murray lost to Roger Federer in last year's final. He is bidding again to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

Murray broke his opponent five times and served 11 aces.

Done with her pre-tournament verbal volleying with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova improved to 11-0 in first-round matches at Wimbledon by beating 37th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-6 (5), 6-3 Monday.

The third-seeded Sharapova, who won her first Grand Slam title at the All England Club in 2004, struggled through the opening set. But at 5-all in the tiebreaker, Sharapova hit a cross-court backhand winner to earn a set point, which she quickly converted with an over-the-shoulder backhand volley winner off Mladenovic's lob.

Sharapova drew attention over the weekend by delivering a sharp news-conference rebuke to Williams over critical comments attributed to the top-seeded American in a recent magazine article.

Williams has won their last 13 head-to-head matches, including the French Open final this month.


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