Solid starts for Nishikori, Raonic

Wimbledon hopefuls Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori both safely negotiated their first round matches at SW19 on Monday.

With new coach and three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe looking on, Raonic completed a fairly straightforward 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

The Canadian had too much firepower for his opponent, firing 27 aces to wrap up the result in one hour and 53 minutes.

Carreno Busta did not go down easily, however, saving five match points before Raonic finally converted the sixth.

Fifth seed Nishikori also made a solid start as he defeated Australia's Sam Groth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in two and a quarter hours.

The Japanese still hasn't fully recovered from a rib injury that forced him to withdraw from the Gerry Weber Open earlier this month, and required treatment for the same injury after winning the second set against Groth.

Up against a big server, Nishikori nevertheless claimed six breaks to set up a second-round encounter against either Frenchman Julien Benneteau or Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine.

The 26-year-old is keeping his expectations in check at Wimbledon this year, and is only eyeing a quarter-final spot at this point in time.

“It's always been my goal to get to quarter-finals here because I haven't done really well in the grass court season,” he said. 

“I got hurt in Halle and I couldn't play. I pulled out second round there.  It was a little bit unfortunate. But if I can win couple matches with good tennis, I think I will get more confidence on grass, and I will get good rhythm on a grass court. The first couple of matches are very important for me here this week."

Ninth seed Cilic was another to book his spot in the second round with a straight sets victory, as he dispatched Brian Baker 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

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