WIMBLEDON - Serena Williams claims the first win at SW19 since 2016


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WIMBLEDON - Serena Williams claims the first win at SW19 since 2016

Caroline Wozniacki wasted no time to beat Varvara Lepchenko, bidding for the biggest win in her career, for the seventh time in eighrt meetings. The Dane kicked off her 12th straight Wimbledon main draw campaign with a 6-0 6-3 victory, her 51st on grass at WTA level.

Wozniacki, aiming to reach her first quarter-final at Wimbledon, the only Slam she has to move to the last 8 at, claimed the 32nd win of the season against the American who beat her at 2015 Stanford, in one of her four Top 5 wins.

Lepchenko, who defeated also No.5 Radwanska (2014 Seoul and 2014 Stanford) and No.3 Muguruza (2016 Brisbane), was no match for Wozniacki, as the 15 unforced errors in the first set testified. The Dane easily completed her fourth victory against a lefty player this season, the 57th in her career.

Wozniacki extended to 39-6 her win-loss record in Grand Slam first round matches and will meet unseeded Ekaterina Makarova, who edged past Petra Martic in three sets. 724 days since her last win at SW19, Serena Williams is through to the second round.

That wasn't easy for Serena, as Arantxa Rus played some excellent offensive shots, but the American is over the first hurdle claiming a 7-5 6-3 win. It's her 87th victory here, just like her sister Venus, her 320th across the Slams, the most in the Open era (men or women).

Serena converted his very first break point but the was far from easy. Serena's preparation, Kim Clijstes noted on BBc Radio 5 Live, has been slightly different from the past, and "it will take her a little bit longer than in previous years to get into her stride".

Bothered by the wind, Serena struggled to counter the opponent's body serves. She looked inconsistent and lacked enough speed to come to the net as often as she needed. Martina Navratilova reckoned Serena is going for "too much, too soon," given how windy it is, the BBC reported.

Her shouts became louder and louder as she clinched the opening set 7-5 despite a controversial point in the final game of the set replayed because the linesman called out as Serena smashed a winner and the umpire overruled the out call.

Serena maintained an unexpectedly passive position on court and gave a lot of space to exploit to Rus. When she netted an easy backhand to give the Dutch the lead at 2-1 in the second set, Williams began to doubt. Rus, whose best career wins came at Grand Slam level, anticipated her chances to reach the second round for the second time at Wimbledon.

But doubts raised the fire inside Serena, who hasn't lost to a player ranked outside Top 100 since her defeat to No.105 Koukalova in the second round at 2015 Bastad. The seven-time Wimbledon champion came back winning five of the final six games. She needed seven match points as Rus displayed her best tennis in the last game.

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