Venus Williams survived a huge scare before advancing to the third round at Wimbledon, downing Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-7, 6-3, 8-6 in a marathon three-hour battle.
Five-time champion Williams, seeded 23 after a recent return from a lengthy injury lay-off, needed all of her experience to subdue the 40-year-old world number 57 before a Centre Court crowd shielded from the rain by the closed roof. “It was important to keep battling and playing every point,” said Williams.“My movement was a lot better than last week in Eastbourne and, surprisingly, I didn’t feel my injury at all.”
Li cruises into second round
China’s French Open champion Li Na reached the second round with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win over Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva.
“It was tough, she has a huge, big serve and also on grass she was playing more flat,” said Li of her opponent who defeated Maria Sharapova here three years ago.
“So I had to rally every second. I never knew what may happen, which shot she’ll hit next.”
Li shrugged off concerns over a knee injury she picked up in the match.
Djokovic crushes Chardy
Novak Djokovic returned to winning ways as the second seed crushed France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.
Djokovic was playing for the first time since his remarkable 43-match winning run was brought to an end by Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals.
But the 24-year-old showed no signs of a Paris hangover and gave an imperious display on Centre Court to set up a second-round clash against Kevin Anderson or Illya Marchenko.
“I’m very satisfied with the way I started the tournament,” said Djokovic. “This performance was great. My serve was very accurate in quite difficult conditions for both of us because we had to face the strong wind.” Meanwhile, Robin Soderling of Sweden defeated German Philipp Petzschner 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6.
Sharapova powers through
Former champion Maria Sharapova powered into the second round with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze.
Fifth-seeded Sharapova gave a command performance for the fans who stayed to watch the glamour girl begin her bid for a second triumph in south-west London. It only took Sharapova three games to secure the first break and she pushed home the lead with another break to take the first set.
Wozniacki posts easy victory
World number one Caroline Wozniacki raced into the second round as she routed Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2, 6-1.
Wozniacki took 59 minutes to demolish the world number 105 on Court One and will play France’s Virginie Razzano for a place in the last 32. The Dane was happy with the way she saw off Parra Santonja in difficult, windy conditions.
“It was my first match on grass and the wind was blowing everywhere,” said Wozniacki. “I tried to adapt as good as I could and hopefully I’ll be ready for the next match.”
“I’m very satisfied with the way I started the tournament. This performance was great. My serve was very accurate in quite difficult conditions for both of us because we had to face the strong wind.”
“The French Open is very different from that of Wimbledon. It is a totally different surface. The French Open is also over. So I would like to do like before — come to the next tournament and focus on that tournament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2011.
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