Juan Martin del Potro makes a winning return to Grand Slam competition
Top seed Serena Williams racked-up her 32nd successive win on Tuesday to reach the second round at Wimbledon, and her men’s counterpart Novak Djokovic followed suit.
World No.1 and defending champion Williams, chasing a sixth Wimbledon title and 17th major, cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win over Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella, while Djokovic had a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over Florian Mayer.
The 31-year-old was ruthless against Minella, the World No.92 who has never defeated a top-30 player, let alone one of the calibre of Williams, whose title at Roland Garros three weeks ago took her haul of majors to 16.
Victory was also her 75th in her last 78 matches — a run that stretches back to her shock first-round departure at Roland Garros in 2012, the worst Grand Slam exit of her career.
Tuesday’s 32nd successive win took her to within just three of the record set by older sister Venus in 2000.
“I never think about the run, I just treat every match like a new one,” said Williams.
“It was special coming out as defending champion. I played great and I have some great memories.”
Williams did not concede a single point on her serve in the first set but Minella, playing in only her eighth Grand Slam compared to the American’s 52nd, at least, had the consolation of breaking her opponent’s serve for a 2-0 lead in the second set.
But she couldn’t capitalise on that slim opening, and Williams roared back, finishing the match with 25 winners to Minella’s five.
Williams goes on to face French qualifier Caroline Garcia, who she beat in the second round in Paris.
Date-Krumm, just three months shy of her 43rd birthday and the oldest woman in the main draw, made the second round with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Carina Witthoeft, an 18-year-old German qualifier, who was just four when the Japanese star made her Wimbledon debut in 1989.
Date-Krumm, who next faces Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu, said she carefully manages her training schedule to avoid burn-out and drinks a lot of Chinese tea.
“I’m taking care of my body, because, of course, the most difficult thing is recovery. I need more training. But if I do too much I feel tired,” she said.
Li Na, the Chinese sixth seed, raced into the second round with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek.
The 31-year-old former Roland Garros champion next faces Romania's Simona Halep.
“It was a pretty good start to Wimbledon. Because the last two years I didn’t do well on the grass court,” said Li, twice a quarterfinalist.
“I have to get used to playing on the grass. I was feeling pretty happy.” Li’s compatriot Zheng Jie missed the chance of setting up a rematch with Williams when she lost 6-3, 6-4 to 100-ranked Garcia.
Zheng, the World No.47 who made the semifinals in 2008, gave Williams a scare last year at Wimbledon, with the American winning 9-7 in the final set of a roller-coaster encounter.
On the men’s side, Juan Martin del Potro, the eighth seed, made a winning return to Grand Slam competition, defeating Albert Ramos 6-2, 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the second round. del Potro did not play Roland Garros because of respiratory problems.
Facing an opponent playing only his fourth tournament on grass, the big-hitting del Potro had 34 winners, including 10 aces, and maintained his record of always advancing to the second round at the All England Club in six appearances.
Also advancing were old-timers Tommy Haas and James Blake, the former a 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 winner over Dmitry Tursunov and the American beating Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.
However, the match of the day on the men’s side was Bernard Tomic beating 21st seed Sam Querrey 7-6(6), 7-6(3), 2-6, 3-6, 6-3.
Heartbreak for Indian duo
Divij Sharan and Purav Raja frittered away a two-set lead bow out of men’s doubles event late on Monday.
The Indian qualifiers making their Grand Slam debut went down 6-7(4), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to Nicholas Monroe and Simon Stadler in a match that lasted three hours and 15 minutes.
The Indians had their chances but could not cash in as 15 of the 19 breakpoints went begging. The Indians had four break chances in the next, but converted just one while they dropped their serve twice.
As pressure grew, the Indians started to miss points at crucial junctures.
Men: 1-Novak Djokovic bt Florian Mayer 6-3, 7-5, 6-4; 8-Juan Martin del Potro bt Albert Ramos 6-2, 7-5, 6-1; 12-Kei Nishikori bt Matthew Ebden 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
13-Tommy Haas bt Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 7-5, 7-5; Ivan Dodig bt 16-Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 6-3, 2-1, retd.; Bernard Tomic bt 21-Sam Querrey 7-6(6), 7-6(3), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3.
27-Kevin Anderson bt Olivier Rochus 6-4, 6-2, 6-1; 28-Jeremy Chardy bt Ryan Harrison 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-5, 6-2; Jan-Lennard Struff bt Blaz Kavcic 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
Denis Kudla bt James Duckworth 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1; Michal Przysiezny bt Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-0; Jesse Levine bt Guido Pella 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 4-3, retd.
James Blake bt Thiemo de Bakker 6-1, 6-3, 6-2; Leonardo Mayer bt Aljaz Bedene 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; Michael Llodra bt Jarkko Nieminen 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-3.
Lleyton Hewitt bt 11-Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5, 6-3; 4-David Ferrer bt Martin Alund 6-1 4-6 7-5 6-2; 7-Tomas Berdych bt Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
9-Richard Gasquet bt Marcel Granollers 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-5, 6-4; Go Soeda bt Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-6(6), 7-5, 6-1; Roberto Bautista bt Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3).
26-Alexandr Dolgopolov bt Gastao Elias 6-1, 7-6(2), 6-2; 17-Milos Raonic bt Carlos Berlocq 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Igor Sijsling bt Alex Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; 23-Andreas Seppi bt Denis Istomin 7-6(6), 7-6(3), 5-7, 3-6, 6-3; 29-Grigor Dimitrov bt Simone Bolelli 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles: Nicholas Monroe & Simon Stadler bt Divij Sharan & Purav Raja 6-7(4), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Women: 1-Serena Williams bt Mandy Minella 6-1, 6-3; 6-Li Na bt Michaella Krajicek 6-1, 6-1.
11-Roberta Vinci bt Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-1; 14-Samantha Stosur bt Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-1, 6-3.
24-Peng Shuai bt Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2; Alexandra Cadantu bt 28-Tamira Paszek 6-2, 7-5.
30-Mona Barthel bt Monica Niculescu 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; Caroline Garcia bt Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-4; Kimiko Date-Krumm bt Carina Witthoeft 6-0, 6-2.
Mariana Duque-Marino bt Julia Goerges 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-5; Madison Keys bt Heather Watson 6-3, 7-5; Olga Puchkova bt Arantxa Rus 6-4, 6-2; Marina Erakovic bt Ayumi Morita 4-6, 6-0, 7-5.
15-Marion Bartoli bt Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-5; 8-Petra Kvitova bt Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 5-7, 6-4; Laura Robson bt 10-Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4.
Urszula Radwanska bt Mallory Burdette 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2; Alison Riske bt 31-Romina Oprandi 6-7(5), 7-5, 3-1, retd.
7-Angelique Kerber bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4; Tsvetana Pironkova bt 21-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 6-1; 18-Dominika Cibulkova bt Maria Elena Camerin 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; Karolina Pliskova bt 13-Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-2.