World No 1 Rafael Nadal and seven-time champion Roger Federer made it a clean sweep of the men’s big guns through to the second round at Wimbledon.
Nadal, the nine-time and current French Open champion, recovered from what was a spirited opening attack by Martin Klizan, ranked some 50 places below him, to close out a 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3 win on Centre Court.
The victory in just shy of three hours set up another showdown with Nadal’s 2012 Wimbledon conqueror Lukas Rosol, who beat Frenchman Benoit Paire.
“I didn’t see who was in the second round. I was just concentrating on the first round,” said Czech Rosol.
“I played good tennis on that day (in 2012). I was serving good, returning good. Until the last point, nobody knows the winner, so I will just try and play my game on Thursday.”
Nadal insists the five-set defeat to Rosol two years ago will have no bearing on his preparations for tomorrow’s rematch.
“I lost because he is a good player, a player that can play very well on this surface,” said Nadal.
“He is an aggressive player, and it will be a tough match again.
“I know if I want to have chances to win, I need to play very well, that is what I am going to try.
“If not, I don’t have chances to be in the third round, but I am going to fight for it.
“When you are in a match, you are not thinking about what happened last year, two years ago or five years ago.
“When you are in a match, you are thinking about the next point, you are thinking about finding a solution for that match.
“What is past is past. What happened, happened.”
Nadal lost last year in round one to unheralded Belgian Steve Darcis.
However, the 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon champion is not about to read much into those temporary losses of form on grass.
“That’s part of the sport, no?” the 28-year-old said.
“Grass is a difficult surface, a surface that I played so well on during a part of my career, so it is a surface that I really have positive results on and have in my heart, because here was one of the most important tournaments of my career.
“I am excited to be back here, to win again a match in Wimbledon, in the Centre Court.
“When you go on court and you lost last year in the first round, the year before in the second round, I’m not going to lie to anybody, sure it stays in your mind, but in the end it is just a tennis match.
“And after winning at Roland Garros, you are able to go on court with a little bit less pressure, and that helps.”
Federer produced a vintage display in winning 6-1 6-1 6-3 against Italian Paolo Lorenzi on Court One, joining defending champion Andy Murray and top seed Novak Djokovic in the round of 64 after their wins on Monday.
Federer will next play Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, who beat Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
Earlier, another Frenchman in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made quick work of finishing off his rain-delayed clash against Austrian Jurgen Melzer, which was held over from Monday night.
The French 14th seed was a game away from the winning line and served out for a 6-1 3-6 3-6 6-2 6-4 victory, but he knows hopes of progress deep into the grand slam will be dependent on getting past the ‘big four’.
Elsewhere, fifth seed Stanislas Wawrinka returned to winning ways at SW19, having not tasted a victory since 2011.
The Australian Open champion beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3 6-4 6-3.
“I am happy to be here, am playing good tennis and know that I can make some damage here,” the Swiss said. “We will take it match after match and we will see where it will end.”
Japan’s 10th seed Kei Nishikori also advanced by defeating Kenny De Schepper of France 6-4 7-6 (7/5) 7-5, and Australian Lleyton Hewitt earned a 6-2 6-7 (16/14) 6-1 6-4 win against Pole Michal Przysiezny.
Ivo Karlovic, the 29th-seeded Croatian, crashed down 32 aces but still lost in straight sets to Canadian Frank Dancevic.
France’s Richard Gasquet, seeded 13th, needed five sets to see off Australian James Duckworth, but impressive Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic coasted past Matthew Ebden in straight sets, emerging a triumphant 6-2 6-4 6-4 winner.