Kvitova, Nadal, Serena, Zvonareva and Tsonga advance to 2nd round

Kvitova, Nadal, Serena, Zvonareva and Tsonga advance to 2nd round

Returning to the court where she won her first Grand Slam championship a year ago, Petra Kvitova overcame a shaky start and a late rain delay Tuesday to open her Wimbledon title defense with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Akgul Amanmuradova.

By (Agencies)

Published: Wed 27 Jun 2012, 12:53 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:14 PM

After Kvitova squandered a match point at 5-3 in the second set, play was suspended and the covers rolled onto the court — the first rain break of the tournament.

When play resumed half an hour later, it took just three minutes to wrap up the match. After Amanmuradova won the first two points to hold for 5-4, the Czech player closed out the match at love, hitting a service winner and two aces and forcing a backhand error. Serena Williams ground out a shriek-filled win over the 62nd-ranked Zahlavova Strycova, a day after five-time champion Venus lost her first-round match on the same court in straight sets to Elena Vesnina.

Former champion Rafael Nadal survived an early scare to kick off his bid for a third Wimbledon title with a 7-6 (7/0), 6-2, 6-3 victory over Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in the first round on Tuesday.

Nadal, the winner in 2008 and 2010, appeared to be suffering a hangover from his record-breaking seventh French Open triumph two weeks ago as he allowed world number 80 Bellucci to race into a 4-0 lead in the first set on Centre Court. But the second seeded Spaniard, who lost in the final to Novak Djokovic last year, quickly regained his composure to canter through to the second round.

“It’s always tough to make the change from clay to grass, especially when over the last couple of months I played almost every match on tour. Physically you start having some troubles,” Nadal said.

Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova overcame a shaky start and a late rain delay to open her Wimbledon title defence with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Akgul Amanmuradova.

In men’s play, fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took apart 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The Frenchman, who beat six-time champion Roger Federer last year to reach the semifinals, broke the Australian once in each set and never lost serve.

Hewitt has slipped to 202nd in the rankings and needed a wild card for his 14th straight appearance at the All England Club. Tsonga was too powerful, racking up 61 winners to the Australian’s 12. It was Hewitt’s first opening-round loss here since 2003. Playing his first match since having a medical procedure on his heart, 10th-seeded Mardy Fish of the United States served 24 aces and beat Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo of Spain 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (1) to reach the second round.

In early women’s play, No. 12 Vera Zvonareva completed a 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Germany’s Mona Barthel.

Francesca Schiavone, the 24th-seeded Italian, came from behind to overcome 18-year-old British wild card Laura Robson 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. —

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