Serena overpowering vs. opening opponent
Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 4:50 pm
By: By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams finished with an ace and a curtsy, showing she’s ready for the queen and a lot more at Wimbledon.
The defending champion won her opening match Tuesday, relying on an overpowering serve to beat 17-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-0, 6-4.
Williams won all 27 points on her first serve and hit 15 aces, the last on her final shot.
As the crowd applauded her victory, Williams curtsied, mindful Queen Elizabeth II is expected to visit Wimbledon for the first time since 1977 on Thursday.
Williams plays her second-round match that day and has said she hopes to meet the queen.
Not that she needed additional motivation to advance. Williams is 43-0 in first-round matches at majors and has won 58 of her past 59 matches against players ranked outside the top 100.
Larcher de Brito, ranked 148th, has three wins over top-20 players but was overwhelmed at the start against Williams.
The three-time champion played 33 minutes before losing a game, and she finished with 47 winners to six for Larcher de Brito.
On a warm, sunny afternoon, Williams played first on Centre Court and swept the first eight games.
Larcher de Brito then began to play better, and grunts that accompanied her shots grew louder.
Last year, French Open opponent Aravane Rezai complained that Larcher de Brito’s shrieks were too loud, and the noise drew considerable attention from the British media at Wimbledon.
Williams grunted, too. There were some vigorous rallies down the stretch, with both players scrambling along the baseline, but Williams’ serve allowed her to keep a cushion.
Serving for the match at 5-4, she hit a service winner and three aces to close out the victory.
Williams has reached double figures in aces eight times this year, most on the women’s tour.
Venus Williams’ latest tennis outfit won’t cause the international stir created by her French Open corset, but it was eye-catching: a white dress with a skirt that might set a Grand Slam record for frills.
Her game also looked good as the five-time Wimbledon champion beat Rossana de los Rios in the first round Monday, 6-3, 6-2.
Venus’ latest fashion design resembled outfits worn by Tina Turner when she sang hit songs in the 1970s and ’80s.
“I love Tina Turner,” the elder Williams said. “Obviously she’s just an amazing, amazing artist, just a survivor. She reinvented herself. Plus she looks great. I’ve loved her forever. So the dress is really inspired by her.”
In Paris, Williams said her black burlesque outfit created an “illusion of bareness.”
At Wimbledon, she had to make allowances for the All England Club’s conservative dress code.
“Here it’s all about white,” she said. “There is no illusion this time. Still had the lace motif. I think it’s just a fun, elegant dress.”
There’s a good chance fans will see it during the trophy ceremony.
She has reached the final eight times, including the past three years in a row, winning the tournament in 2007-08 and losing to sister Serena in the 2009 final.
She’s seeded second this year to Serena.
While Venus won easily Monday, six-time men’s champion Roger Federer had to dig out of a big grass-court hole to beat Alejandro Falla 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0.
“I definitely got very lucky,” Federer said.
No. 5 Andy Roddick, who lost to Federer in last year’s epic final, began his title bid by beating fellow American Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Dustin Brown, the first Jamaican man to play in a Grand Slam tournament since 1974, lost to No. 16 Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin began Wimbledon comebacks with victories. Clijsters won easily in her first match at the All England Club since 2006, beating Maria Elena Camerin 6-0, 6-3. Henin, playing at Wimbledon for the first time since 2007, defeated Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-3.
Henin, who retired from tennis in 2008 and returned early this year, seeks a Wimbledon title to complete a career Grand Slam.
“It’s been one of the reasons why I decided to come back,” she said. “That remains a dream for me.”
American Melanie Oudin, who made a surprising run to the fourth round last year as a 17-year-old, defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 6-0. French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-1 in nearly three hours.
The only other seeded woman to lose was No. 34 Kateryna Bondarenko.
Four seeded men lost: No. 11 Marin Cilic, No. 17 Ivan Ljubicic, No. 20 Stanislas Wawrinka and No. 30 Tommy Robredo.