Serena Williams survives exile as Petra Kvitova battles back

 

Wimbledon

There would be no Court Two burial of a second Williams sister. Serena was forced into bouts of exertion by the diminutive Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, and though her win was rarely pretty, there was never a suggestion she might be following Venus out of the door with a repeat of her own first-round exit in Paris.

That must have come as a relief to the organisers since Serena was clearly seething at being asked to follow Venus into the boondocks. In metres and metaphor Court Two is some distance from the Centre Court experience and when asked to comment on the affront the four-time champion barked: "I'm not in the mood."

That was not the case out in the middle. Other than stare at the ground over which the ball had just scorched, Strycova had no solution for anything that came off the middle of Williams' racket. Not everything did, of course, and whenever the Williams timing faltered her opponent attacked with all she had, claiming two more games in the 6-2 6-4 defeat than she managed when the pair met in the second round in Australia. The defending champion Petra Kvitova started slowly, falling 3-0 and 4-1 behind before finally loading the cannon correctly to claim five games on the spin and the opening set. That, the crowd thought, would signal the end of Akgul Amanmuradova's resistance but the woman from Uzbekistan hitched up her shorts and got stuck in.

Kvitova had to reach into her extended directory of grunts to squeeze out the big points, but power paid in the end, sealing a 6-4, 6-4 victory. "I was nervous, my first time defending at a grand slam. A huge honour to do that on Centre Court. There were a lot of firsts for me today, but I came through in the end," Kvitova said.

The Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka lived up to her second seeding with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-1 mauling of American Irina Falconi. There was no relief from the baseline blitz to be had for Falconi or the spectators.

Formula One has found a solution to the lack of excitement in the sport with the introduction of Pirelli tyres that decompose after a few laps. What a pity tennis cannot devise a similar variable to spice up the spectacle. There was little to commend the game in this rout.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'