Wimbledon 2013: 'Rusty' Serena Williams takes 32nd straight win


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The Independent Online

When Mandy Minella was told of the Wimbledon draw she may well have been asked: "The good news first, or the bad news?" The good news was that she was destined for her Centre Court bow. The bad news? Serena Williams would be on the other side of the net.

Today the Luxemburger watched Williams' first serve fizz by for an ace and lost the opening set 6-1 in 19 minutes without taking a point against serve. Minella rallied, however, to break Williams in the opening game of the second before losing the set by a respectable 6-3 margin.

This was Williams' 32nd straight victory, a run dating back to March, and underlined her billing as favourite to retain her Wimbledon crown; not that she was taking anything for granted.

"I never feel invincible," Williams said, before adding, chillingly for her rivals: "I feel like I was a little rusty today, I don't think I played my best."

It was a day of one-sided women's singles matches. The fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-1 to join her sister Urszula in the second round. She beat Mallory Burdette 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. Li Na, the Chinese No 6 seed, eviscerated Michaella Krajicek 6-1, 6-1 while Roberta Vinci, the Italian No 11 seed, dismissed Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-1. Germany's No 7 seed Angelique Kerber had to work a little harder to defeat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4, but the Australian No 14 seed Samantha Stosur thrashed Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-1.

Stosur then experienced the sort of questioning many a British player has endured over the years. As the only Australian woman in the main draw – a 60-year low – she is carrying a heavy load of responsibility for a somewhat bruised sporting nation.

"I don't feel extra pressure," she said. "It's unfortunate with the history we have got in Australia with tennis. It is disappointing, but I'm sure in years to come it won't be this way."

Australian was once a tennis power, though at Wimbledon only Margaret Court (née Smith) and Evonne Cawley (née Goolagong) have won the women's title.