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Nadal wins in return

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Associated Press
June 23, 2010
— Trying to switch directions while chasing a shot beneath the Royal Box at Wimbledonís Centre Court, Rafael Nadal lost his footing and took a nasty-looking spill, flinging his racket in the air while he fell.

The Spaniard was OK, even if he did land on his back behind the baseline and glanced overhead to make sure his equipment wasnít going to nail him in the noggin. Nadal toweled off and, four games later, wrapped up a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Japanís Kei Nishikori in the first round at the All England Club.


It was merely a coincidence, of course, that Nadalís third-set tumble Tuesday left him in nearly the same position, and in the same spot, that he found himself the last time he played a match at Wimbledon, almost two full years ago. Except then, he was dropping to the grass to celebrate beating Roger Federer in the 2008 final.


Nadal didnít defend that championship, withdrawing last year because of painful tendinitis in his knees. Now heís healthy, reinstated at No. 1 in the rankings, and once again the reigning French Open champion.


Said Nadal: ďIím happy to be here again.Ē


Another past Wimbledon winner coming off an injury, Maria Sharapova, also won convincingly, eliminating 127th-ranked Anastasia Pivovarova of Russia, 6-1, 6-0, in only 54 minutes.


Sharapova had right shoulder surgery in October 2008 and was sidelined for about 10 months, then was hampered by a right elbow injury this year.


Joining her in the second round were defending champion Serena Williams, who pounded 15 aces in a 6-0, 6-4 victory over 17-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal to improve to 43-0 in first-round Grand Slam matches; two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-4; and No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 7 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 9 Li Na and


No. 10 Flavia Pennetta.


No. 6 Samantha Stosur, the runner-up at the French Open, fell to 80th-ranked qualifier Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-4, 6-4.


Four seeded men exited, and three are from Spain: No. 8 Fernando Verdasco, No. 19 Nicolas Almagro, and No. 14 Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion. The other was No. 24 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.


Winners included No. 4 Andy Murray, two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling, No. 9 David Ferrer, No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and No. 18 Sam Querrey of Santa Monica, Calif. Murray is the only British man or woman still left, making this the first time in tournament history that the hosts have but one representative in the second round.


ďItís not great, is it?Ē Murray said.


Nadal is seeded second behind six-time Wimbledon champion Federer.


, who struggled in his first match Monday, coming back to win after dropping the opening two sets.



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