Djokovic, Williams, Sharapova reach second round at Wimbledon

Wimbledon, June 30 (IANS) Top tennis stars Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova all reached the second round on the opening day’s competition of Wimbledon here.

Defending champion Djokovic, the World No.1, dispatched Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Centre Court on Monday, reports Xinhua.

“It is great to be back in the cradle of our sport. We have this tradition that the champion opens on Centre Court. It is a privilege and an honour. It doesn’t get any bigger than Wimbledon,” he said.

Djokovic, playing his first match after losing to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final, broke the 33rd-ranked Kohlschreiber in the ninth game of each set.

“I had a tough opponent. He can be tricky on all surfaces and especially on grass where he had nothing to lose. I’m glad I was able to stay composed,” Djokovic said.

The Serb will next face Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, who took four hours to beat former champion Lleyton Hewitt 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, 11-9.

“I didn’t leave any stone unturned preparing,” said the 34-year-old Hewitt, who has announced to retire after next year’s Australian Open.

Wawrinka kicked off his Wimbledon with a 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(3) win over World No.45 Joao Sousa.

Women’s top seed Serena Williams, who has already won the Australian Open and French Open, eased past 113th-ranked Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-4, 6-1.

“I didn’t know she was a qualifier. But she had nothing to lose and she started so incredibly fast. I thought, oh my God! I am going to be down a set here if I’m not careful,” she said.

Her sister and five-time champion Venus Williams also advanced with an comfortable victory over Madison Brengle, 6-0, 6-0 in just 42 minutes.

Fourth seed Sharapova reached the second round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Britain’s Johanna Konta, setting up a clash against Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp.

Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori overcame a left leg injury to claim a 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Italy’s Simone Bolelli.

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