Rafael Nadal delivered a classy, authoritative display on Court One to defeat John Millman in straight sets and advance into the second round of Wimbledon on Monday (3 July).
Nadal, who decided against competing at Queen's in order to remain in strong condition for his journey at SW19, broke the Australian immediately in the first set, which he won 6-1, and survived a minor wobble when the world number 137 broke him midway through the second to clinch it 6-3.
The man from Manacor turned on the style in the third set as he ripped the covers off the ball and bullied the helpless Australian across the court. Millman could not be faulted for his endeavour but the sheer length and zip on Nadal's forehand rendered his efforts nigh-on futile, though he did receive a glimmer of hope when the 10-time French Open winner misjudged the flight of his lob and afforded him a rather cheap break of serve.
The error was a rare moment of mercy from Nadal, who broke Millman immediately to make the third set 5-2 and swiftly wrapped up the mismatch by dominating his increasingly frustrated counterpart in imperious fashion on his own serve.
Nadal has been in splendid form this season, winning his 10th French Open, the Barcelona Open, the Madrid Open and the Monte Carlo Masters, but there were a few doubts over how he would cope with his first grass match of the season. He answered any lingering questions in imperious fashion, earning a standing ovation from the adoring crowd at Court One, and will now focus on his second round match against America's Donald Young on Wednesday.
"The important thing is I am through," Nadal told the BBC. "After two years without having much on grass, I have positive feelings and I am happy about how i finished the match.
"For everybody it's so special to play here. after the history i had here, five finals in a row, winning in 2006 and 2011, I'm happy to be back in London, and Wimbledon especially.
"I am happy with the way I started the season, I've been playing well since the beginning and now I have an opportunity to compete well on grass."
Andy Murray, the man Nadal and the rest of the men are looking to dethrone at the All-England Club, started his defence with a straight sets win over the exciting but raw Alexander Bublik on Centre Court. In doing so the Scot set up a second round clash with Dustin Brown, the man who shocked Nadal at Wimbledon in 2015.
Elsewhere, ninth seed Kei Nishikori started his campaign at SW19 with an incredibly dominant display over Italian Marco Cecchinato. The Japanese dangerman, who suffered a four-set defeat to Murray at Roland Garros in May, needed just 73 minutes to secure a 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 victory over the world number 102 and will face either Julien Benneteau or Sergiy Stakhovsky in the next round.