As first-round encounters go, this is one Serena Williams will be glad to have behind her.
In a match low on quality, the former world No 1 and seven-time Wimbledon champion beat Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-2 7-5 to progress here at the All England Club.
The opening game of the first set seemingly set the standard, with Williams firing down a total of seven lets as she struggled to make serve. She may have eventually found her rhythm to take the game, but it was a sign of things to come.
Indeed, both players lacked any form of consistency on their service and were guilty of throwing away shots on the forehand.
It was telling that Williams quickly rushed to 5-0 in the first set – her winners proving too much for Gatto-Monticone – but the Italian managed to hold her serve to finally take a game. It was to make little difference, though.
After trading breaks, Williams sealed the first set with a forehand winner into space that suggested the American was emerging from her initial lull.
The second set saw an improvement in the quality on offer, with Gatto-Monticone catching the eye at one point with a last-ditch pick-up and Williams asserting her authority with a fierce overhead smash at the net.
The Italian showed some resistance to break Williams at 5-3, before holding her serve, but she was ultimately unable to stave off the inevitable.
After securing match point with another overhead smash – letting out a roar of delight as she did so – the American finished on a flourish at the net, sending an angled winner beyond her opponent following a quick fire, close-range exchange.
It was a memorable finish to an otherwise forgettable match.
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