Top-seed Serena Williams polished her record in Grand Slam first round matches to an impeccable 43—0 Tuesday as she began her Wimbledon title defence with a 6—0, 6—4 defeat of Michelle Larcher De Brito.
The Portuguese challenger was swept away in the opening set but steadied in the face of the Williams power game in the second, hanging in against the American who tennis was turning over in perfect harmony.
Williams, the world number one, improved to 58—2 against players ranked outside the Top 100 as she advanced over number 148 Larcher De Brito.
The only Williams losses against rank outsiders came against number 127 Sun Tiantian (2005 Beijing) and number 149 Anne Smith in the first match of her career (1995 Quebec, qualifying).
Larcher De Brito saved a match point, holding serve to trail 6—0, 5—4. But Williams then served it out to reach the second round by a comfortable margin, lifting her record to 51—7 at Wimbledon where she also won titles in 2002 and 2003.
Two more seeds also moved through as number seven Pole Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Melinda Czink of Hungary 6—3, 6—3 and number ten Italian Flavia Pennetta overwhelmed Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues 6—4, 6—0.
Russian Anna Chakvetadze staged a fightback to put out German Andrea Petkovic 3—6, 6—4, 6—4.
On the men’s side, France’s former Top ten player Gilles Simon began showing signs of life with a long—running knee injury finally behind him, beating Spaniard Guillermo Alcaide 6—3, 6—4, 7—6 (7—0).
Two men advanced because their opponenets retired: Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine profited as German Michael Berrer was unable to finish in a 6—3, 7—5 loss.
American Sam Querrey, the Queen’s champion this month on grass, then through went (7—4), 6—3, 2—1 over injured Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine.
Martin Fischer of Austria stopped Japan’s Go Soeda 6—4, 6—3, 6—1.
British hopes were high as fourth seeded hero Andy Murray opened play later against Czech Jan Hajek.
Second seeded 2008 winner Rafael Nadal was making his Centre court start against Kei Nishikori of Japan while sixth seed Robin Soderling was playing American Robby Ginepri.