World number one Serena Williams came out a little sluggish and got a strong test from Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan on the first day of Wimbledon on Monday, but walked away with a 6-4, 6-1 victory to advance.
Gasparyan entered this match without ever winning one on the WTA circuit, but gave the best player in the world all she could handle in the opening set. She broke in the opening game, built a 3-1 advantage and even had a chance to break for a 4-1 lead.
But Serena saved that break point as part of a streak that saw her win 11 of the final 13 games to win her Wimbledon opener in straight sets.
“She played really well. She also had a few matches under her belt from the qualifying, so she was ready for the grass,” Serena said of her first-round opponent. “She got off to a really fast start. She was playing really well today. I would be lying if I said I wanted a hard match, of course, but I think it’s good for me. At the end of the day, it’s definitely good for me.”
Serena will play Hungary’s Timea Babos in the second-round. Babos moved past the Czech Republic’s Petra Cetkovska 7-6(4), 6-3 to advance.
World number four Maria Sharapova got her Wimbledon off to a winning start, moving past British wildcard Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-2. Sharapova committed just 12 unforced errors in the match and never gave Konta a window to get herself going.
“I was quite pleased with the way things went today,” said Sharapova. “It was my first competitive match in about four weeks, so I just wanted to start off really strong, not knowing much about my opponent, just the results she had last week. So coming in without any proper grass court matches, I just wanted to take care of business, and I thought I did a good job of that today.”
Sharapova converted on five of seven break point chances to put the match out of reach. In the second-round, the 2004 Wimbledon champion will meet Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands.
Hogenkamp knocked off China’s Qiang Wang 6-4, 6-4 in her first-round match.
The biggest upset of the afternoon came from the racquet of Latvian wildcard Jelena Ostapenko, who rolled ninth-seed Carla Suarez-Navarro 6-2, 6-0 in her first Grand Slam main draw match.
Ostapenko gave herself 12 break point chances in the match and converted on six of them to cruise in each set. She will take on France’s Kristina Mladenovic, who beat Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2, 6-1.
Former world number ones Ana Ivanovic and Victoria Azarenka both moved into the second-round as well on Monday. The seventh-seed Ivanovic downed Chinese qualifier Yi-Fan Xu 6-1, 6-1.
“I really feel that the early loss in Birmingham gave me time to work on some things,” said Ivanovic. “Before Birmingham I hadn’t had much time on grass but now coming into this week I feel like I’m beginning to implement some of those things we worked on, and that makes me happy.”
Ivanovic will meet American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Snads in the second-round. Mattek-Sands beat Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck 6-2, 6-2.
Azarenka beat Estonian wildcard Annet Kontaveit 6-2, 6-1. She will play Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium next.
Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas notched an upset of her own, beating 24th seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. She will play Belarus qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich who came back from a set down to beat China’s Lin Zhu 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
American Venus Williams, the 16th seed, crushed her compatriot Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-0.
Here are the rest of Monday’s results from the women’s draw:
►Daniela Hantuchova d. Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-0
►(19) Sara Errani d. Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 5-7, 6-1
►Aleksandra Krunic d. Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-4
►(30) Belinda Bencic d. Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
►Anna-Lena Friedsam d. Vitalia Diatchenko 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
►Lesia Tsurenko d. Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 6-3
►(14) Andrea Petkovic d. Shelby Rogers 6-0, 6-0
►(11) Karolina Pliskova d. Irina Falconi 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
►Coco Vandeweghe d. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-4, 6-2
►Urszula Radwanska d. Edina Gallovits-Hall 6-2, 6-1
►(22) Samantha Stosur d. Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-4
►Lauren Davis d. Polona Hercog 6-4, 7-6(3)
►Su-Wei Hsieh d. Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 6-4
►Mariana Duque-Marino d. Naomi Broady 7-6(5), 6-3
►(29) Irina-Camelia Begu d. Daria Gavrilova 7-6(6), 6-1
►Yulia Putintseva d. Marina Erakovic 7-6(5), 7-5
►(6) Lucie Safarova d. Alison Riske 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
►Sloane Stephens d. (27) Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-2