x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Venus comfortably through

The reigning champion launches her bid for a sixth Wimbledon title with victory over the Swiss Stefanie Voegele.

Venus Williams was impressive in her victory over the battling Swiss teenager Stefanie Voegele.
Venus Williams was impressive in her victory over the battling Swiss teenager Stefanie Voegele.

The reigning champion Venus Williams launched her bid for a sixth Wimbledon title with a competitive 6-3 6-2 victory over the Swiss teenager Stefanie Voegele. Williams, bidding for her third straight championship here, mixed fine athleticism and choice shot selection on Centre Court to book a place in the second round against Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko in an hour and 15 minutes. Venus cracked 14 winners as she raced through the opening set in just 32 minutes before the Swiss world No 97 found her form and made more of a game in it in the second. The American finally broke the resistance of Voegele, who cites her foe's sister Serena as her childhood hero, with a break in the seventh game of the second and she served out for a satisfying victory sealed with a forehand winner.

The new retractable roof again worked as a deterrent for rain, with dry weather for a second successive day. Meanwhile, Kimiko Date Krumm, a 38-year-old wild card who came out of retirement last year, lost in her first Wimbledon match since 1996 to the No 9 seed Caroline Wozniacki, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. The former world No 1 Jelena Jankovic struggled past Julia Goerges 6-4, 7-6 (0). Serena Williams, who won her opening match on Monday against the qualifier Neuza Silva, said she draws confidence from projections she'll be playing in the final a week from Saturday. "I always feel like if people can believe in me, then I should, too.

"I always think about how I feel when other people that are top seeded are playing. I'm like, 'OK, they'll win.' So I feel like I should feel that way about myself as well." Serena's second-round opponent Wednesday will be Jarmila Groth, who is ranked 69th. * With agencies