Stability is the glue which binds any good team, as the Jamie Murray-John Peers doubles pairing is fast finding out.
The British-Australian duo kicked off their Wimbledon campaign with a quick-fire 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 result over wild-card pairing Daniel Evans and James Ward; a stark reversal of fortunes after their SW19 debut together in 2013.
In last year’s opener, the pair fell 14-12 in the fifth set to James Blake and Jurgen Melzer, despite being tipped as a chance at making a deep run. It was still early days in their partnership.
Seeded No.15 this year, Murray and Peers came into the match familiar with their opposition having downed them in an impressive showing at Queen’s last week – where they upset the Bryan brothers and Roland Garros champions Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin before a narrow loss in the final.
“I think we learned a bit from when we played them at Queen’s; what they were trying to do on the court. We shut that down quite early. I don’t think we had a break point against us on serve ... I think probably better doubles experience showed through there,” Murray said. “We’ve got to win six matches to win the whole thing. I think we can do well in this tournament.”
Despite having beaten the all-conquering Bryan brothers before, their win on grass, on the eve of Wimbledon, was a notable confidence boost and confirmation the pairing was on the ascendency.
“The fact [is] we played such a bad match against them in Paris. We were a lot better prepared for the [Queen’s] match. That day was a great level of tennis. Like John said, when we put our best level out there it’s a tough level to beat for anyone. Unfortunately we didn’t win in the final, but we were close for the most part,” Murray said.
Having teamed up with 43 different doubles players since splitting from Eric Butorac seven years ago, Murray was relishing his new-found stability.
“We’ve been going steady if you like for 18 months,” he laughed. “It’s much easier to go on court with that direction, that calmness over you because you know what that guy standing next to you is doing. We’re a team; we’re not just kind of pitching up and just playing.”
Reigning Australian Open champions, No.7 seeds Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt, had an even easier time of it in their Wimbledon 2014 opener. The Polish-Swedish duo routed Colombian pairing Santiago Giraldo and Alejandro Gonzalez 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. For three years running Lindstedt was Wimbledon runner-up with former partner Horia Tecau before landing his Grand Slam breakthrough at Melbourne Park with Kubot. Lindstedt’s former doubles partner Tecau also got the ball rolling for his Wimbledon 2014 campaign on Wednesday. Combining with Curacao-born Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer, the No.11 seeds took down Finnish pairing Henri Kontinen and Jarrko Nieminen 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-6(4).
No.3 seeds Daniel Nestor and Nedad Zimonjic, who earlier this year rejoined forces as a team, needed a tie-break to sneak the first set but from there were never headed in a 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-4 win against Italian pair Paolo Lorenzi and Andreas Seppi.
Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, the No.6 seeds, were made to work hard to avoid becoming a seeded casualty on the first day of the Gentlemen’s Doubles. Having reached last month’s Roland Garros final, the pair pulled through a shaky five-setter 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 over Marin Draganja and Florin Mergea.
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