Serena In Openers: 43-0
Published June 22, 2010 12:00
LONDON, England - She was perfect going in and perfect coming out. Serena Williams improved to 43-0 lifetime in first round matches at Grand Slams with a 60 64 victory over Portuguese teenager Michelle Larcher de Brito.
Stepping onto Centre Court at 1pm Tuesday, the traditional starting time for the women's defending champion, the No.1-seeded Williams stormed through the first set in just 22 minutes and, although her opponent managed four holds of serve in the second set, quietly closed it out with her 15th ace of the match.
Larcher de Brito had pushed Williams to three in their only previous meeting, in fact she led 64 20 in that match at Stanford in 2008, but not this time.
"She's a good player. I knew what to expect," Williams said. "She doesn't look it, but she definitely packs a punch. Most people nowadays hit really hard. It was good for me to get someone who hits that hard early on in the tournament."
Williams was sporting a unique dress: "We dubbed it Strawberries and Cream. The red is the strawberries and the white is the cream. It's not a pure white, it's more of a cream. The red symbolizes what I do in Africa, along with a lot of the work, like the red laces. Everybody that buys a pair can pretty much save a life in Africa. The tournament and the things I do in Africa mean so much to me."
Williams leads all active players in career Grand Slam titles won with 12: five Australian Opens, three Wimbledons, three US Opens and one French Open. Venus Williams and Justine Henin are next with seven majors each.
Awaiting the defending champ in the second round will be Anna Chakvetadze, who beat last week's 's-Hertogenbosch runner-up Andrea Petkovic, 36 64 64. Chakvetadze was ranked as high as No.5 in the world in 2007 but is now a lowly No.118 after a series of on and off-court struggles over the last few years.
In their only previous match, it was Chakvetadze that won - by retirement, in the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in 2007, round robin stage, when Williams had to stop with a knee injury after losing the first set. Chakvetadze has also had success on grass before, winning one of her seven career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles on the surface ('s-Hertogenbosch in 2007).