Serena wins Wimbledon opener

Updated: June 23, 2010, 2:24 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

WIMBLEDON, England -- Serena Williams finished with an ace and a curtsy, showing she's ready for the queen and a lot more at Wimbledon.

The defending champion won her opening match Tuesday, relying on an overpowering serve to beat 17-year-old Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal 6-0, 6-4.

Williams won all 27 points on her first serve and hit 15 aces, the last on her final shot. As the crowd applauded her victory, Williams curtsied, mindful Queen Elizabeth II is expected to visit Wimbledon for the first time since 1977 on Thursday.

[+] EnlargeSerena Williams
Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesSerena Williams improved to 43-0 in Grand Slam first-round matches on Tuesday.

Williams plays her second-round match that day and has been practicing her curtsy.

"I want it to be more natural," she said. "Right now it feels really forced. Seems like I've never done a curtsy before, which may be true. But I'm looking forward to nailing it."

The queen won't get to see French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur, who lost to qualifier Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 6-4. Stosur came into the tournament ranked a career-best sixth.

"No doubt it's a quick turnaround," Stosur said. "The champions of the game can do it back to back. That's the kind of pedestal that you want to try to look up to and try to get to yourself."

Roland Garros winner Francesca Schiavone lost Monday. Aside from Stosur, the only seeded woman to lose was No. 25 Lucie Safarova.

Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, needed only 54 minutes to beat lucky loser Anastasia Pivovarova 6-1, 6-0.

Sharapova had right shoulder surgery in October 2008 and was sidelined for about 10 months before being hampered by a right elbow injury this season. She's had to toy with her service motion, in addition to confronting worries about when she would regain the strokes that helped her win Wimbledon at age 17 in 2004 and then two other Grand Slam titles.

"You never know until things happen. I mean, I believed that I would be back. Did I really know? I assumed, and I had a lot of belief in myself, and I had a tremendous amount of support from the people around me," said Sharapova, who won 30 of 37 points on her serve Tuesday. "But you never really know 'til it happens."

And these days, is her best tennis enough to beat anyone?

"Absolutely," Sharapova said.

U.S. Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki reached the second round with an easy victory, beating 53rd-ranked Tathiana Garbin of Italy 6-1, 6-1.

At 19, the third-seeded Wozniacki is the youngest player ranked in the top 25. Garbin is 32 years old.

Wozniacki made it to the fourth round at the All England Club last year, her best showing at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova edged Akgul Amanmuradova 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-4. No. 7-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Melinda Czink 6-3, 6-3, and No. 10 Flavia Pennetta swept Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 6-0.

Williams played first on Centre Court and remained unbeaten in opening Grand Slam matches. She's 43-0 in the first round at major events.

For her return to Wimbledon on a warm, sunny afternoon, the three-time champion wore a cream dress with red trim.

"Strawberries and cream," she said.

Larcher De Brito, ranked 148th, has three wins over top-20 players but was overwhelmed at the start, needing 33 minutes to win a game.

The teen then began to play better, and grunts that accompanied her shots grew louder. Last year, French Open opponent Aravane Rezai complained that Larcher De Brito's shrieks were too loud, and the noise drew considerable attention from the British media at Wimbledon.

"Anything with my grunting, I don't want to answer," Larcher De Brito said. "I don't want to go down the same road again."

Williams grunted, too. There were some vigorous rallies down the stretch, with Larcher De Brito holding her own as both players scrambled along the baseline.

"She definitely packs a punch," Williams said. "It was good for me because most people that do play nowadays hit really hard. It was good to get someone that hit really hard early on."

Williams packed the bigger punch -- she finished with 47 winners to six for Larcher De Brito, many on serves that reached up to 119 mph.

"It's not even about the pace, because I could deal with that," Larcher De Brito said. "But she places it so well. When she aims for targets, she really hits that line or just clips that line."

In the final game, Williams hit a service winner and three aces to close out the victory. She said poor serving cost her when she was upset by Stosur in the quarterfinals at the French Open.

"I served so terrible my last match at the French," Williams said. "I went home and worked really hard on my serve. I was incredibly disappointed with it. Had a talk with my serve. I said, 'You know, we got to do a little bit better.'"

Williams reached double figures in aces for the eighth time this year, most on the women's tour. She has won 58 of her past 59 matches against players ranked outside the top 100.

Several hours after she won her singles match, Williams partnered with sister Venus to win their first-round doubles match.

The top-seeded Williams sisters, the defending women's doubles champions, beat Julie Ditty of the United States and Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2.

The Williams sisters are bidding for a fifth consecutive Grand Slam doubles title and 13th overall. They are tied for No. 1 in the doubles rankings, in addition to Serena being at No. 1 and Venus at No. 2 in the singles rankings.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.