Ninth seed Kei Nishikori wasted little time in recording his 30th grass-court victory on Monday as he began his campaign at The Championships with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 win over Italian Marco Cecchinato in 72 minutes. The Japanese star converted seven of his nine break point opportunities and hit 35 winners. Having overcome a back injury he sustained at the Gerry Weber Open, Nishikori will now meet Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky, who beat Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 7-6(8), 2-6, 6-2.
“This is the only Grand Slam that I haven’t done well in,” said Nishikori. “I have never made it to the quarter-finals. That’s always my motivation, to get into the second week. I think the past couple of years, I been playing well on grass. I’m fit again, so I hope I can make it.”
Earlier in the day, French No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came through his 150th Grand Slam championship match (113-37) in fine form when he struck 30 winners, including eight aces, in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over wild card Cameron Norrie in 88 minutes. He will next face Italian Simone Bolelli, who beat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s never easy at the start of a tournament,” said Tsonga. “The first round, you’re looking for something, for a good level of tennis. Today, I had the possibility to work on my game and see how it went.”
Seventh seed Marin Cilic broke a two-match losing streak against Philipp Kohlschreiber in their first grass-court meeting. The Croatian saved all four break points he faced, struck 47 winners, including 15 aces, in a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory in one hour and 56 minutes. Cilic, who has reached the quarter-finals for the past three years and recently finished runner-up at the Aegon Championships, will now meet another German, Florian Mayer.