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Sharapova's opener goes smoothly; Venus works way out of early jam

Updated: June 24, 2008, 7:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WIMBLEDON, England -- Defending champion Venus Williams scraped through a tight first set and then pulled away for a 7-6 (5), 6-1 victory over British teenager Naomi Cavaday to begin her bid for a fifth Wimbledon title.

As reigning champion, Williams was up first on "Ladies Day" on Centre Court as the All England Club enjoyed a second spell of dry, sunny weather on a day that also featured a first-round victory by Maria Sharapova.

It took awhile for the seventh-seeded Williams, playing ...

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