Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams won in straight sets to advance to the second round of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Women’s defending champion Williams beat Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 6-1, 6-3 yesterday to extend her winning streak to 32 matches. Djokovic, the 2011 titleholder, opened with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 defeat of Germany’s Florian Mayer.
Williams’s victory put the 31-year-old American into a tie with Justine Henin for the second-longest women’s winning streak since 2000, when her sister, Venus Williams, won 35 in a row. Playing at Wimbledon, where she won her fifth singles title last year and two gold medals at the London Olympics a month later, has brought back “amazing memories,” Serena Williams said.
“I love playing here,” she said at a news conference. “It definitely felt good to step out there and be on the court and hit some balls around.”
Defending men’s champion Roger Federer takes on Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round today, while No. 2 seed Andy Murray of Britain plays Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan. Women’s second seed, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, faces Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Russia’s Maria Sharapova, the No. 3 seed, plays Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal
China’s Li Na, the No. 6 seed, beat Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-1 in another first-round match yesterday. Krajicek’s brother, Richard, was the 1996 Wimbledon men’s champion.
“Last two years, I didn’t doing well in the grass court,” Li, the 2011 French Open winner, told reporters. “I was shocked a little bit. I have to get used to play on the grass.”
Australia’s Samantha Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, beat Slovakia’s Anna Schmiedlova 6-1, 6-3, while American Madison Keys defeated Britain’s Heather Watson 6-3, 7-5. No. 7 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany got past Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. 6-3, 6-4, and Britain’s Laura Robson upset Russia’s Maria Kirilenko, the 10th seed, 6-3, 6-4. Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the fourth seed, beat Yvonne Meusburger of Austria 6-1, 6-1.
A year after knocking then-reigning U.S. Open champion Stosur out of the second round of Wimbledon, Arantxa Rus yesterday tied the longest losing streak in WTA Tour history.
The Dutch player, a former junior world No. 1, was beaten by Russia’s Olga Puchkova 6-4, 6-2. It was Rus’s 17th straight main-draw defeat, tying her with U.S. player Sandy Collins, who lost the same number of matches between 1984 and 1987.
“In the beginning of the year I was serving not good,” said Rus. “In the last month, I played better tennis, but you need to play very good to win matches in this level.”
Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm, at 42 the oldest women in the singles event, got past Carina Witthoeft 6-0, 6-2. Date-Krumm made her first appearance at Wimbledon in 1989, almost six years before her German opponent was born.
In the men’s draw, Djokovic won in his first competitive match since being beaten in the French Open semifinals by Rafael Nadal, who lost in the first round two days ago. The Paris defeat ended the 26-year-old Serb’s attempt to win his seventh Grand Slam after he began 2013 with the Australian Open title.
“It was a very satisfying performance,” Djokovic said. “I can play better. For the first match, it’s normal to expect that you’re still kind of finding your rhythm and adjusting to a new surface and new movement. Hopefully I can elevate my game as the tournament goes on.”
Ferrer, Del Potro
Men’s fourth seed David Ferrer of Spain beat Martin Alund of Argentina 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, while France’s Richard Gasquet, the ninth seed, defeated Spain’s Marcel Granollers 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina defeated Spain’s Albert Ramos in straight sets. The 2009 U.S. Open champion didn’t play in the French Open because of a respiratory illness.
No. 12 Kei Nishikori of Japan defeated Australian Matthew Ebden 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, while Croatia’s Ivan Dodig advanced when 16th-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who won the first two sets, retired in the fifth. American James Blake, Canadian Jesse Levine and South Africa’s Kevin Anderson also advanced.
No. 21 Sam Querrey of the U.S. lost to Australia’s Bernard Tomic in five sets. Tomic, a 2011 quarterfinalist, won 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3. Tommy Haas, the 13th seed from Germany, beat Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 7-5, 7-5.