Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Serena has early warning for Wimbledon rivals

Serena Williams was delighted to meet some brief resistance as she made a confident start to her defence of the women's singles title at Wimbledon.

The world number one gained a 6-0 6-4 first-round victory over Michelle Larcher De Brito, a 17-year-old from Portugal who was over-run at the start of the match, but recovered to give the three-time champion a work-out in a competitive second set.

Williams was all power and precision as she took just an hour and three minutes to set up a second-round meeting with Anna Chakvetadze, of Russia, in front of the Queen tomorrow.

“She's a good player,” Williams said of Larcher De Brito. “I've played her before which was good so I knew what to expect.

“She doesn't look it, but she definitely packs a punch. It was good for me because most people that do play nowadays hit really hard. It was good to get someone that hit really hard early on.”

The American needed three sets to win her only previous meeting with the teenager, in Stanford two years ago, but there was never a hint that she might encounter the difficulties experienced by Roger Federer on Centre Court 24 hours earlier.

Meanwhile, Williams is continuing to practice her curtsy ahead of the visit of the Queen.

“I'm working on it,” she said. “It's a little dramatic and I'm trying to tone it down.

“I want it to be more natural. Right now it feels really forced.”

Maria Sharapova eased through with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Anastasia Pivovarova in an all-Russian match on Court Two.

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