Kvitova overcomes Wimbledon struggleAgence France-Presse . London
Defending champion Petra Kvitova reached the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan, but only after surviving an early struggle.
The Czech, who became the first woman born in the 1990s to win a major when she beat Maria Sharapova in the 2011 final, fought back from 3-0 and 4-1 down in the first set before seeing off Amanmuradova, who has now lost all her five first round appearances here.
Once Kvitova had reeled off seven successive games to take the first set and lead 2-0 in the second, the 22-year-old was comfortably in control, managing to shrug off a brief rain delay at 40-40 at 5-3 in the second set.
‘It’s unbelievable to come back as defending champion,’ said Kvitova, who started her 2011 title-winning campaign out on Court 15.
‘I was nervous at the start. On grass you never know what to expect from me.’
World number four Kvitova will now face either Italy’s Karin Knapp or Elena Baltacha for a place in the last 32.
Earlier on Monday, five-time champion Venus Williams suffered her worst All England Club defeat in 15 years, but draw cards Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova powered into the second round.
Williams lost 6-1, 6-3 to 79th-ranked Russian Elena Vesnina in what was the 32-year-old’s first opening round loss since her 1997 debut.
While Williams was heading for the exit, another crowd favourite, Kim Clijsters, was rolling back the years with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Serbian 18th seed Jelena Jankovic.
Clijsters, unseeded this year and playing her last Wimbledon before retirement, will face Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic.
The 29-year-old Belgian, playing just her second event since March, was untroubled against the error-plagued, former world number one Jankovic who lost in the first round for a second successive year.
Sharapova, who completed a career Grand Slam with victory at the French Open, eased past Australia’s Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 6-3.
Sharapova, the 2004 champion, will face Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, who reached the semi-finals in 2010.
Top seed Djokovic, opening business on Centre Court, reached the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Spanish veteran Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Djokovic, 25, playing for the first time since his French Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal, will next face America’s Ryan Harrison.
Third seed Federer beat Spain’s Albert Ramos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, taking just 79 minutes to kick off his bid for a record-equalling seventh title.
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