Serena Williams battles into Wimbledon 2018 second round
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Serena Williams battles into Wimbledon 2018 second round

Serena Williams kicked off her bid for an eighth Wimbledon title with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-3 victory over Holland’s Arantxa Rus on Monday.

tennis Updated: Jul 03, 2018 19:10 IST
By Alex Fisher
By Alex Fisher
Omnisport, London
Wimbledon 2018,Serena Williams,Tennis
Serena Williams will face either Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova or Czech wild card Tereza Smitkova in the second round at Wimbledon. (REUTERS)

Serena Williams marked her first appearance on the Wimbledon grass since lifting the 2016 title with a straight-sets victory over Arantxa Rus.

The seven-time champion was far from her fluid best on Number One Court on Monday but her brute strength and game management proved too good for her Dutch opponent.

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Rus played her part in a competitive first-round clash with some sweet forehands down the line, however Williams would not be denied as she powered to a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

Williams had not featured since pulling out of the French Open with a pectoral injury and in the opening game she was immediately under pressure, Rus racing to 30-0 on the American’s serve.

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But in what would become a familiar theme, Williams came storming back and let out her first scream of celebration as she moved 1-0 ahead.

An immediate break for the 25th seed appeared to signal a comfortable progression, however Rus was not downbeat and battled back to level straight away.

Williams was not the most mobile from the baseline but she was able to dominate from deep, her power enabling her to dictate most of the rallies – the deep forehand cross-court a particularly productive weapon.

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She needed two mistakes from Rus to move ahead, though, the 27-year-old firing into the net before over-hitting a comfortable forehand to leave Williams roaring in celebration.

Rus threatened to level the match in the second set with some more excellent forehands on the run, the lefty breaking Serena early to lead 3-1.

It was not to be, though, as Williams reeled off five games in a row with a series of punishing groundstrokes, with another Rus error allowing her esteemed opponent to serve for the match.

Williams saw five match points slip by as Rus began swinging with freedom, but it was sixth time lucky for the former number one as her opponent found the net.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 23:06 IST