Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska made a shock first-round exit from the women’s singles on Sunday, while fellow Wimbledon runner-up Andy Murray of Britain made light work of his match against Stanislas Wawrinka to advance to the second round.
Men’s second seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia and fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France both survived early scares, dropping their first sets, before pulling back to win on a day that saw just a quarter of the originally scheduled matches completed due to bad weather.
Poland’s Radwanska, playing under the Centre Court roof due to sporadic heavy rain showers which prevented play on the outside courts for most of the afternoon, crashed out 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 to world No. 24 Julia Goerges.
“I played pretty aggressive and served well,” said the German, who had lost twice to Radwanska this year. “I know if I play well it’s dangerous for anyone and it was today, a lucky day.”
Fourth seed Murray, back on Centre Court three weeks to the day after losing the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer, made a strong start to his singles medal campaign with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Federer’s doubles partner Wawrinka.
The win means Murray, who with his brother Jamie was knocked out of the men’s doubles on Saturday by Austria’s Juergen Melzer and Alexander Peya, has already improved on his Olympic debut in Beijing, where he suffered a first-round singles defeat to Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun in straight sets.
“I know how much that loss hurt me and I wanted to come here best prepared as I could be, and today was a good start,” the 25-year-old Scot, whose win was met with a deafening eruption of noise from the home crowd, said after the match.
Wawrinka can now concentrate on defending his Beijing doubles medal with Federer, who was on court to cheer him on, although the pair will have to wait after their opening match was one of the many postponed due to the rain.
On Court One, Beijing bronze medalist Djokovic had reached a first set tiebreak against Italy’s Fabio Fognini before rain suspended play at seven points apiece.
When the match finally resumed hours later, with ground staff having taken the protective covers off the court several times during the afternoon, only to have to cover them over again as the rain restarted, Fognini quickly wrapped up the set to take the lead against the visibly frustrated Serbian.
The pair slipped and slid their way around the court, which had not fully dried out after its earlier soaking, with both making nasty-looking falls at times, but Djokovic regained his form to take the match 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-2.
“It’s a start. I haven’t played an official match since Wimbledon, so it took me a set and a half to really get into the rhythm, and obviously the rain delay affected the game and I wasn’t sharp enough after the rain delay,” he said.
Tsonga made similarly hard work of his first-round tie, losing the first set against Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in a tiebreak, before getting back on track to win 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-4.
Venus Williams did not get the chance to begin her quest for a fourth gold medal, with her first-round match against Italy’s Sara Errani, due to follow Djokovic on Court One, canceled due to the slippery conditions — prompting angry boos from the disappointed crowd.
Others through to the second round included Russia’s Maria Sharapova, making her Olympic debut, who safely secured a 6-2, 6-0 win over Israel’s Shahar Peer, while men’s fourth seed David Ferrer beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4.