Rafael Nadal beats Russell to open title defense

Defending champion Rafael Nadal recovered from a slow start to beat Michael Russell 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday in his opening match at Wimbledon.

updated: June 20, 2011 20:19 IST
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London: Rafael Nadal opened his Wimbledon title defense in convincing style on Monday, shaking off an early service break and cruising to a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Michael Russell.

In keeping with tradition, the defending men's champion played the first match on Centre Court at the All England Club — and the top-ranked Spaniard put on a worthy performance to kick off proceedings on the 125th edition of the championships.

Five-time women's champion Venus Williams, back on her favorite grass surface, also swept into the second round with a straight-set win over 97th-ranked Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.

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