Murray, Serena breeze as ‘ugly’ winds bring tennis havoc
Wimbledon champion Murray, the second seed, clinched an eighth win in eight meetings against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 6-2.
Murray, playing for the first time since securing his second career All England Club title four weeks ago, next faces Argentina’s Juan Monaco, one of his closest friends on tour.
“I was a little bit nervous at the start. I haven’t played on a hard court for a while and the conditions weren’t easy,” said 29-year-old Murray, as light drizzle began to fall.
“But I did well. It was a good start.”
Williams, the 34-year-old world number one, can take her gold medal count to six if she repeats as Olympic singles and doubles champion.
She got her campaign off to the perfect start, defeating Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-2.
Williams, sporting a patriotic Stars and Stripes hairband on centre court, will face either Sweden’s Johanna Larsson or Alize Cornet of France.
She will be hoping it is Larsson as Frenchwoman Cornet famously defeated her three times in 2014, including at Wimbledon.
– Play ‘almost impossible’ –
Winds of up to 25km/h (15mph) caused havoc with tempers as well as with the second day schedule.
Matches on outside courts were delayed by between 90 minutes and two hours as gusts buffeted the Barra complex, destroying hoardings and making play on exposed arenas impossible.
“It was really intense. I think my last Olympic final four years ago was really windy too,” said Williams.
“Today they couldn’t start the matches on the outside courts. I was a little nervous about that so I was happy to get through.”
Williams also confirmed that she and sister Venus will play doubles later in the day.
The 36-year-old Venus was knocked out of the singles on Saturday with her US team saying she was suffering from a virus.
German second seed Angelique Kerber, who defeated Serena to win the Australian Open in January, hit back from 2-5 down in the second set to defeat Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-3, 7-5.
Kerber next faces Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard.
“When I practiced at 9 o’clock this morning it was 35 degrees and then we had two hours’ delay,” said Kerber.
“Then the wind came, it was cloudy and cooler.”
Play opened as scheduled on centre court where German entertainer Dustin Brown made a tearful, injury-enforced exit.
Brown, playing with his flowing dreadlocks tucked inside a white rasta beanie hat, retired in the second set of his clash with home hope Thomaz Bellucci after turning his left ankle in a nasty-looking fall.
A furious Bellucci — a friend of Brown’s — later lashed out at organisers for allowing the match to go ahead.
World number 86 Brown, who dumped Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon in 2015, took an injury time-out to have his ankle strapped but quit in tears moments later.
Brown had won the first set 6-4 but was down 4-5 in the second when he called it quits.
He immediately headed for a scan at a nearby hospital.
“It was almost impossible,” said 28-year-old Bellucci.
“I don’t know how they allowed us to play like this. I have never played in these conditions.
“The wind was so fast and the match became ugly. You just couldn’t take any risks.”
Bellucci, backed by a raucous home crowd, goes on to face either Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas or Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia for a spot in the third round.
Later Sunday, top seed Novak Djokovic and 2008 champion Nadal get their campaigns underway.
Nadal, playing for the first time in more than two months after suffering a wrist injury, tackles Federico Delbonis of Argentina.
World number one Djokovic faces Argentine giant Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion.
Del Potro endured a nightmare build-up to the centre court showdown when he was stranded in a broken down elevator at the athletes’ village for 40 minutes on Sunday morning.