Swiss enjoys first time under Centre Court roof with straight-sets win over Mannarino
If I never do anything further in tennis, you made my life so special in so many ways
Five-time champion Venus Williams rallied from a set down to beat Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm in a match of breathtaking drama under the roof on Wimbledon's Centre Court.
Even a rusty saw can perform an amputation, and Venus Williams duly made short work of some of the more tenuous delusions that have preceded her return to her favourite theatre of operations. She took exactly an hour to hack her way past an obligingly limp first-round opponent, Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan, 6-3, 6-1. So much for the notion that even the Williams sisters, who have divided nine of the past 11 titles between them, might have ceded the pack a dangerous start this time.
It is doubtful whether Daniela Hantuchova flounced back into the locker room at Devonshire Park and proudly proclaimed, "No one beats Daniela Hantuchova 11 times in a row", as Vitas Gerulaitis was supposed to have done after ending a run of 16 consecutive defeats to Jimmy Connors.
Despite having barely played this year, Venus Williams is confident of making a splash this week
The queens of the grass courts are finally fit after months on the sidelines and they have just one aim for Eastbourne and Wimbledon – winning
Serena's decision to join Venus in next week's Eastbourne field is also excellent news for Wimbledon
Venus Williams bowed out of the Australian Open tonight but insisted she had "peace of mind" after giving her all against Andrea Petkovic.
Andy Murray said on Twitter that he had "never heard so much noise in a tennis match" while Ross Hutchins, his Davis Cup colleague, said Venus Williams was "making noises that I didn't think were possible".
The US Open will begin with little hope of a home champion – and few young talents on the horizon. Paul Newman finds out why
Centre Court crowd grow tired of American sisters' domination as world No 1 blows away Russian to retain crown
Those ingrates to whom the miracle of the Williams sisters has lost its freshness will have been especially vexed that Maria Sharapova, one of the only females in the species competent to interrupt their duopoly here, should be flung into the path of Serena as early as the fourth round. By the same token, the seeding committee will be the toast of those privileged yesterday to witness what would have made a pretty good final.
Venus Williams powered into Wimbledon's fourth round yesterday, quickly recovering from an early break of serve and never especially troubled in beating the 20-year-old Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-4 6-2.
Belgian star Justine Henin seeks to add her first Wimbledon title to a long list of Grand Slam triumphs
Longevity of Williams sisters is down to the caution shown by their father early on