Wimbledon: Serena Williams beats Gasparyan to move one step closer to Grand Slam
Serena Williams preserved her perfect first-round record at Wimbledon but it was hard work at times for the American as she took another step towards the Grand Slam.
Twenty-year-old Margarita Gasparyan, a Russian making her Wimbledon debut, broke serve at the first opportunity and led 3-1 in the opening set.
Yet back came Williams and in the end ran out a 6-4 6-1 winner, a scoreline that reflected her dominance once she found her footing. It was her 17th first-round singles win at Wimbledon, with her record showing no losses at this stage.
A fall in the sixth game, and a code violation warning for an audible obscenity, might have put off a lesser player, but Williams put both behind her to recover the early break, and Gasparyan could not sustain a challenge after that point.
Williams is targeting the calendar Grand Slam of winning all four majors in the same year, a feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988. She already holds the US Open, from last year, plus the Australian Open and French Open titles, so is a Wimbledon triumph away from the second non-calendar 'Serena Slam' of her illustrious career.
Belfast Telegraph Digital