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Serena survives first day

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:35

Williams, the second seed behind world number one Dinara Safina, beat Portugal’s Neuza Silva in straight sets on Centre Court, but was made to work hard in the second set, which she took 7-5.

The American raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening set before taking it 6-1, but Silva improved in the second to give a good account of herself on her grand slam debut at the age of 26.

“No-one wants to lose in the first round. Everyone you play is always really into it and really fighting,” said Williams. “I definitely think she increased her game in the second set, but also I think my concentration wasn’t where it should have been.

“I’ve never seen her play before. I thought she had a really good game, especially for the grass. I can see why she came through qualifying and gave me such a difficult time.

“She’s a fighter, she got lots of balls back. I thought she played really well.”

Elsewhere, there were also victories for eighth seed Victoria Azarenka, who had taken the first set 6-2 against Severine Bremond Beltrame when the Frenchwoman was forced to retire through injury, and 16th seed Jie Zheng.

Zheng, a surprise semi-finalist here last year, beat Germany’s Kristina Barrois in two tie-breaks, and will face former quarter-finalist Daniela Hantuchova in the second round after Hantuchova recovered from a set down to beat 15-year-old British wild-card entry Laura Robson – the junior champion from 2008.

10th seed Nadia Petrova enjoyed the easiest win of the day, beating Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus 6-1 6-1, while number 28 Sorana Cirstea – who reached the quarter-finals of the French Open recently – won an all-Romanian battle 7-5 6-1 against Edina Gallovits.

The first seed to fall was Canada’s Alexandra Wozniak, the 23rd seed losing 4-6 6-4 6-4 to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone.

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