By Ed Osmond
LONDON (Reuters) - Andy Murray made a ruthless start to his Wimbledon title bid by crushing experienced Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-1 6-1 6-4 in the first round on a murky Centre Court on Tuesday.
The British fourth seed, semi-finalist for the past three years, needed one hour 35 minutes to see off the former world number three with a relentless barrage of accurate groundstrokes and pinpoint serves.
"I struck the ball well," Murray told a news conference. "I tried to use the slice to mix it up and it worked well.
"I played well and once I got ahead I wanted to make sure I didn't let him back in. I needed to stay concentrated on my serve and I did it well. It was such a convincing victory."
Murray raced through the first two sets in 55 minutes in front of a subdued crowd which briefly broke into a half-hearted Mexican wave to try to lift the atmosphere.
The 25-year-old Briton peppered the baseline with heavily sliced backhands and top-spin forehands, occasionally venturing to the net to finish off points.
Davydenko did improve in the third set but he made far too many unforced errors and the 31-year-old was picked off at will by Murray who had lost four of their previous nine matches.
Murray, bidding to become the first British man to win Wimbledon for 76 years, sealed victory on his third match point when his opponent sent a backhand return long and he will play Croatian Ivo Karlovic or Israeli Dudi Sela in the second round.
Murray pointed skywards in an animated victory celebration, perhaps relieved at coming through so easily after his preparations were hampered by early exits from warm-up tournaments and injury problems.
But he refused to explain why he did it.
"I don't want to say too much about it because otherwise I will be asked about it the whole tournament," he said. "I'm not going to give any more details about what it was."
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)