The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 22 June 2011

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Serena struggles to openingvictory

Serena Williams was far from her best in her opening match yesterday, as she battled to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 first-round victory over Aravane Rezai.Williams, absent from the game injured for most the last year, said afterwards: “It’s just been a long, arduous road.” MORE

Irishman misses out on Federer tie

With a prestigious second-round match against Roger Federer just two games away, Conor Niland, the first Irishman to play at SW19 in 31 years, proceeded to lose five consecutive games against France’s Adrian Mannarino to exit the tournament. MORE

No 11-hour repeat as Isner beats Mahut

The US’s John Isner beat Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in straight sets. The pair’s meeting was considerably shorter than last year’s 11-hour epic, which Isner also won. Last year the last-set score was 70-68, this year just 7-6. MORE

Britain’s women atone for 2010 woe

A year after failing to muster a singles victory between them, Briton’s women had reason to cheer yesterday as both Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong made it through to the second round. Heather Watson and Laura Robson play today. MORE

Murray to face improving Kamke

Andy Murray will play Tobias Kamke today after the German completed a 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1 win over Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic yesterday. Kamke, a 25-year-old German, won the ATP’s ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in November after rising 187 world ranking places. MORE

Jol hits out at old Spurs foe Comolli

New Fulham manager Martin Jol has criticised former Tottenham director Damien Comolli over his sacking by the club in October 2007. “He came up with [Juande] Ramos in July,” Jol said of his replacement. “That was a bit strange, to say the least.” MORE

Kieswetter and Patel are recalled

Craig Kieswetter and a slimmer Samit Patel yesterday earned recalls to England’s squads for the limited-overs internationals with Sri Lanka. As expected, former ODI captain Paul Collingwood and wicketkeeper Matt Prior were left out of the party. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Do not tell anyone at Centre Court yesterday that they were watching a remnant of Roger Federer. The Swiss dismantled Mikhail Kukushkin, showing that he is still ultimately committed to the imperative of winning. MORE

Chelsea close in on Villas-Boas as £13m release fee is paid

Chelsea last night moved a step closer to confirming Andre Villas-Boas as their new manager after a £13.2m release clause was paid to free the Portuguese manager from his contract at Porto – although the London club refused to admit if it was indeed they who paid the hefty fee. “We hope to reach agreement with him on personal terms and make an announcement in the near future,” a club statement read. Villas-Boas resigned from the Portuguese champions earlier in the day and will replace Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked last month after just two seasons in charge, and 12 months after securing the Chelsea’s first League and Cup double. MORE

Celts’ fury at British Olympic team ‘deal’

The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish associations have angrily dismissed claims by the British Olympic Association and Football Association that an “historic agreement” has been reached to allowa British team to be fielded at London 2012. MORE

McIlroy to rest up after US Open win

Rory McIlroy returned home from his US Open victory in Maryland vowing to take a three-week break before teeing it up again at next month’s Open at Royal St George’s. “I want to take it easy and let it sink in,” the 22- year-old Ulsterman said.