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Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 17:13 UK

In-form Nadal sees off qualifier

By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal
Nadal is looking to reach his third straight final at Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal enjoyed a comfortable win as he began his bid to become the first man since Bjorn Borg to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back.

The world number two cruised past German qualifier Andreas Beck 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-0) in two hours 19 minutes.

Beck was playing his first Grand Slam match on Centre Court and though he did not appear over-awed, the 22-year-old never looked like troubling Nadal.

Nadal may face a tougher test in round two against rising star Ernests Gulbis.

"It was my first match, which is always very difficult," said Nadal. "Against a lefty, his second serve was very difficult to read.

"He served a lot of times to the body and it was difficult for me. But I think I played well.

"In the beginning, it was a strange match because we didn't play a lot of points from the baseline - and that's my game.

"So I'm very happy for the victory."

Gulbis, the 19-year-old from Latvia, stretched Andy Murray to three sets in the third round at Queen's and beat dangerous American John Isner in his opening match at Wimbledon.

606: DEBATE

The teenager said: "A lot of players, when they play Federer or Nadal or even Djokovic now, they just don't believe in themselves that they can win. But I don't want to go into any match like a loser."

However, on current form, a shock seems highly unlikely.

Nadal, fresh from winning his first grass-court title at Queen's, hammered a remarkable 17 aces down against Beck and did not face a single break point in an impressive serving display.

Beck, who was playing his first top-level match outside Germany, managed to force a tiebreak in the third set but the effort proved too much and he lost it 7-0.

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Nadal pleased to win 'strange match'




see also
Beck v Nadal as it happened
24 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Becker sends Davydenko crashing
24 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Sharapova safely into round two
24 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day two photos
24 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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