Serena Williams Returns to Wimbledon with Win, Sister Venus Advances, No. 4 Stephens and No. 5 Svitolina Lose on Day One
(July 2, 2018) Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams won 7-5, 6-3 over Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and reach the second round of Wimbledon on Monday. She last set foot on the hallowed grounds of the All-England Club when she won the event in 2016.
“It’s good, I guess, Serena said about her first match at Wimbledon in two years. “I didn’t think about that actually. But it felt good to play, just to be back on the grass. Two years, over a year. It definitely felt good.”
“I’m just taking it one at a time. I don’t think I was at my best today, but I’m practicing much better. I feel as long as I, you know, keep going, hopefully I’ll be able to get there.”
Williams pulled out of the French Open before the quarterfinals with a right pectoral muscle injury, she was asked about her recovery: “Like I said the other day, I took a lot of time off with serving. I didn’t serve at all. I took some time off of tennis, as well. I just started serving when I got here.
“But I think, as time will go on, it will get better. My arm is doing much better. My serve is a little playing catch-up, but it’s doing better than I could have hoped, to be honest. It’s all on the right track.”
Williams was asked about being a “mom” at a tournament now with her daughter Olympia.
“I’m adjusting well. I spend so much time with her every single day. We, like, literally do everything. I really don’t like being away from her. I also think it’s healthy in a way for me to do what I need to do, be that working mom, then go back home and be the mom, so…
“I wake up early, something I never said, to spend time with her. It’s nice here because I had a later match. I spent all morning with her. Then she had her nap. Then I spent the rest of the time with her when she woke up.
“But it’s hard. I realized, like, at Roland Garros, if the days were long, like I was playing singles and doubles there, that was hard because I felt guilty. I was like, I haven’t seen Olympia, like what am I doing. If it’s the shorter days, now that I’m not playing doubles in this event, I have the day off, I think that will help.”
Another mother on the tour won earlier in the day at Wimbledon, Victoria Azarenka won 7-6, 6-3 over Ekaterina Alexandrova.
“And I think the dynamic and thing about being pregnant coming back is such a powerful thing now, and I think it’s an advantage, in a way,” said the Belarusian. “You know, you’re able to kind of do a tick, okay, I am a mom now, so I can continue to do more of what I love to do.
“I think the tougher balance is, for me, is to be able to spend time away from my son and be okay with taking sometimes time for myself, which is a struggle sometimes, because I really want to spend every second with him. I feel guilty if I take 15 minutes for myself to stretch. I’m trying to, you know, run back to him and spend every second with him. So that’s the balance I think is the tough one.”
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Serena’s sister, five-time winner Venus Williams moved into the second round at Wimbledon with a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-1 victory over Johanna Larsson. From 1-2 down in the second set, the seven-time major winner won the next 10 straight games.
The 38-year-old Venus, who is the oldest woman in the draw was last year’s losing finalist at the All-England Club.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who was the No. 4 seed has been knocked out of Wimbledon losing 6-1, 6-3 to No. 55 Donna Vekic.
“It was a bit windy, but I think that Donna played a good match,” said the American. “It was just a tough day for me.”
“It was frustrating,” Stephens added. “Obviously I wasn’t making the shots I wanted to make. Wasn’t being as consistent as I wanted to. My feet were a little bit slow. Like I said, sometimes it happens, there’s nothing more, nothing less to it. I wish I would have made some more shots.”
“I had no points to defend. This is where I started playing last year. Just happy to be back here and not injured. So I think for me it was kind of pretty light, was looking forward to it. Like I said, unfortunate to play Donna. She’s a good grass court player. I didn’t play my absolute best. That’s not what you want.
“Yeah, it’s just something you kind of just got to roll over and move on, get ready for the hard court season.”
No. 5 seed Elina Svitoliva also fell victim to an update. She lost to 57th-ranked Tatjana Maria of Germany 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.
US Open finalist Madison Keys had no problems beating Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 6-2 to advance.
“I feel like your first match on grass is always — nerves are a little bit more amplified,”noted the seed. “Not only happy with how I played and executed what I wanted to do but more how I handled my nerves.”
Karolina Pliskova, the seventh seed was pushed by British youngster Harriet Dart 7-6, 2-6, 6-1.
“Not the best, but I won,” said Pliskova. “The end was happy. I think she played very good. I know she beat my sister last week in Eastbourne, so I was ready for a tough battle.
“I knew she has a good game on grass because the shots are pretty fast, staying pretty low. Yeah, but my game was not the best. My serve was not the best. Yeah, still managed to find little bit my rhythm in the third set. That was much better. It ended up 6-1. Maybe if I play a little bit better in the beginning, it could be a little bit different.
Last year’s semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova, the 19th seed was the first seed to fall, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Other seeds winning on the first day of Wimbledon included second seed Caroline Wozniacki who dominated Varvara Lepchenko 6-0, 6-3.
The Australian Open champion, who won the grass-court tournament at Eastbourne, said that win had given her a mental boost on this surface.
“I just won that a couple of days ago,” she said. “I feel like I’m hitting the ball well, I’m doing great. Obviously Australian Open is a great booster, as well, knowing that I can do it and I’ve gone all the way in a Grand Slam. It feels great.
2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska saved six match points before defeating Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in 2 hours and 40 minutes.