Williams sisters, Nadal cruise into second round


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London, June 22

Serena Williams today enjoyed the gentlest of workouts as the sun beat down on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, scoring a comfortable 6-0 6-4 first-round win over Portugal’s Michelle Larcher de Brito.

The defending champion and top seed was in unforgiving form against the world number 148 and raced through the first set in just 22 minutes.

Larcher De Brito finally got off the mark at the start of the second and even forced the American to lose her balance on occasions during some testing rallies, but Williams proved too strong and served out with an ace for the victory after 63 minutes. Russian Anna Chakvetadze will be her second-round opponent.

Even Sister Venus, seeded two, too flew the family flag yesterday with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of Paraguay’s Rosanna De Los Rios.

Former world number one, fellow Belgian Justine Henin, also back after a retirement U-turn, beat Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova and fourth seed Jelena Jankovic ended the hopes of British teenager Laura Robson.

Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic lost to 13th seed Shahar Peer of Isreal 6-3 6-4.

Rafael Nadal looked like he had never been away as he made a welcome return to Wimbledon with a ruthless 6-2 6-4 6-4 win over Japanese wildcard Kei Nishikori today.

However, French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur slumped to a 6-4 6-4 first-round defeat by Estonia's Kaia Kanepi.

The sixth seed looked listless on grass and failed to improve the past record of seven appearances without advancing to more than second round.

Long after dark, with the Centre Court roof closed and the lights beaming, men’s third seed Novak Djokovic then survived a similar fate, reeling off the last six games to beat tricky Belgian Olivier Rochus 4-6 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-2.

Russia’s seventh seed Nikolay Davydenko also went two sets down against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson before clawing back to win 3-6 6-7 7-6 7-5 9-7.

Marin Cilic, the 11th seed, fell to Germany’s Florian Mayer but there were few alarms for 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt and 2009 runner-up Andy Roddick as they reached the second round. — Reuters