6/24/2009

Venus, Safina lead parade of seeds

BEIJING, June 24 -- Five-time champion Venus Williams recovered from an early stumble in her opening match at Wimbledon Tuesday to beat Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2.

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Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball during the Ladies' Singles first round match against Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland in the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in Wimbledon of London, June 23, 2009. Venus Williams won 2-0.

It was Williams' first appearance on Center Court at the All England Club since the 2008 final, when she beat sister Serena for her second Wimbledon title in a row.

"I really enjoyed being out there," Venus said. "It's a special moment when you walk back as defending champion on that court."

Venus slipped five points into the match, one of several wobbly moments as she began her bid for a three-peat. She double-faulted in the opening game and had to erase two break points. She was passed the first two times she reached the net. She slipped and nearly fell a second time.

"It's grass," she said. "You're going to slip sometimes."

Williams found her footing, winning 14 consecutive points to take a 5-1 lead. She had another spurt in the second set after losing serve for 2-2, and swept the final four games.

Top-seeded Dinara Safina also moved into the second round, with a straight-sets victory over Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

Still seeking her first grand slam title, Safina won 7-5, 6-3.

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Dinara Safina of Russia plays a shot against Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain during the Ladies' Singles first round match in the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in Wimbledon of London, June 23 2009. Dinara Safina won 2-0. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)
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It was the Russian's first match at a major tournament since losing the French Open final to compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova this month. Safina is 0-3 in grand slam finals.

Sixth seeded Jelena Jankovic clawed her way back from 2-5 down in the second set to beat German Julia Goerges 6-4, 7-6 (0).

While the bubbly Serbian skipped back into the locker room, her namesake Jelena Dokic buried her head in a towel after her return to Wimbledon ended in a 6-3, 5-7, 2-6 defeat by Tatjana Malek of Germany.

Almost four weeks after Dokic left court in floods of tears, when her Roland Garros challenge ended with a back injury, the Serbia-born Australian suffered another blow at the grasscourt major.

A dizzy spell brought on by what she thought might be a virus, ruined her day and she had to have her blood pressure taken on court.

"I wasn't feeling great at the beginning of the second. And that's where things just started going downhill," said Dokic.

China's Li Na also advanced, the 19th seed easing past Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 6-0.

Source: Shanghai Daily

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July 14, 2009 at 5:15 AM