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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.