It has been a disappointing year for highly-rated American Donald Young and his miserable losing sequence was extended to 11 matches when he was beaten by birthday boy Mikhail Youzhny, the No. 26 seed, in four sets.
But the 22-year-old Young looked like he would end his disastrous form in 2012 when he raced to a 6-4, 3-1 lead early on. Both men had difficulty on their serves early on but Youzhny rediscovered his weapon as poor Young’s game fell apart, losing seven games on the spin. The Russian, who has made the second week on six previous occasions, eventually won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, to start the celebrations on the day of his 30h birthday.
Youzhny’s win was hardly a piece of cake but he safely saw a passage into the second round unlike his fellow seed Marcel Granollers. The Spanish No. 24 seed was beaten 7-5, 7-6(5), 3-6, 2-6, 8-6 in a four hour 20 minute duel on Court 14.
However another Spaniard in the shape of Nicolas Almagro lives to fight another day. The No. 12 seed was two sets down to Oliver Rochus was two sets down but won a third set tie-break and then snatched the fourth set 6-2. Play was suspended for bad light at 2-2 in the decider.
Experienced Frenchman Julien Benneteau is never the easiest player to beat and he proved it with a convincing 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Gilles Muller. The No. 29 seed was never troubled by the Luxembourg left hander and had a straightforward passage into round two.
Another French seed in the shape of Richard Gasquet also progressed in straightforward manner, disposing of Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Juan Monaco, the No. 15 seed, was another of the world’s best who also earned a straight sets victory as he knocked out his Argentine compatriot Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 7-6(5), 7-6(5).
Talking of Mayer’s, German Florian Mayer (no relation) also had a fairly simplistic day, beating the Russian Dmitry Tursunov 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-3.
This opening day at Wimbledon was marred by withdrawals though. Gilles Simon, the No. 13 seed, was already cruising through his match with Paul-Henri Mathieu, leading 6-3, 5-4 when his French countryman pulled out with a groin problem. Radek Stepanek, No. 28 seed, was given a similar helping hand when Ukrainian opponent Sergiy Stakhovsky was also forced to pull out with a rib problem with the Czech leading 6-1, 1-0.