Serena safely through at Wimbledon

Serena Williams does not care much for first-round dramas, especially at Wimbledon.

Since debuting in 1998, the American has only lost one set at the first hurdle and the 28-year-old defending champion was at it again today as temperatures soared into the high 70s Fahrenheit at the All England Club.

For a while the world number one looked unlikely to concede a game against Portugal's Michelle Larcher de Brito but eventually had to make do with a 6-0 6-4 victory after some gutsy resistance from a teenage opponent more well-known for her shrieking.

Serena, sporting a white tennis dress with bright red undershorts, smacked down 15 aces in a 63-minute workout which was as routine as men's defending champion Roger Federer's opening encounter was tortuous the previous day.

"I'm relieved to get through because she (Larcher de Brito) is really good player," Williams, who now has a 43-0 record in grand slam first rounds, said in a post-match interview. "It's great to be here, fit and healthy.

"Hopefully I'll play in front of the Queen (on Thursday) but also hopefully not because I might get a little bit nervous."

First Tuesday is traditionally Ladies Day at Wimbledon and the beautifully landscaped grounds of the world's most famous tennis club were liberally sprinkled with some eye-catching summer dresses as fans lapped up the sunshine.

The Pimm's and strawberry stands were already doing brisk business as play began on the outside courts at noon with several women's seeds in action.

Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, the former U.S. Open and French Open champion, edged through against Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova 6-2 6-7 6-4 while seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-3 6-3.

China's Zheng Jie, the 23rd seed and a former semi-finalist, moved through by beating Pauline Parmentier of France 7-5 6-4.

Britain's Andy Murray was preparing for his first round against Jan Hajek on Court One later but by that time he could find himself the only home player left in the singles.

Anne Keothavong joined the four women's losers on Monday when she blew a 4-0 lead in the third set against Australia's Anastasia Rodionova.

Teenage wildcard Heather Watson plays later, as does Jamie Baker, the only other home player apart from world number four Murray to start in the men's singles.

World number one Rafael Nadal, back at Wimbledon for the first time since his epic final victory over Federer in 2008, was due to begin his quest to reclaim the trophy on Centre Court against Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Big-serving American 18th seed Sam Querrey, a possible tricky last 16 obstacle for Murray, made smooth progress into the second round, the Queen's Club champion two sets up against Sergiy Stakhovsky when the Ukrainian retired injured.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before