Venus Williams rolls into second round

Updated: June 20, 2011, 6:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WIMBLEDON, England -- Five-time champion Venus Williams, back on her favorite grass surface, swept into the second round of Wimbledon on Monday with a straight-sets win over 97th-ranked Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.

Williams, who returned to action at Eastbourne last week after an injury layoff of nearly five months, looked right at home at the All England Club as she beat Amanmuradova 6-3, 6-1 on the opening day of the 125th edition of the championships.

Williams kept her opponent waiting for several minutes on Court 2, with Amanmuradova sitting patiently on her courtside chair for the 31-year-old American to arrive.

Once play started, Willliams took Amanmuradova apart in 59 minutes with her hard-hitting all-court game. She served seven aces at up to 118 mph, broke four times and had 23 winners to only five unforced errors -- none in the second set.

"It's always great to be back," Williams said. "To play a few matches at Eastbourne helped me feel pretty comfortable here. All in all, I'm pretty pleased. I only see pluses for today. I missed being out here playing."

Amanmuradova, who has now lost in the first round at Wimbledon in all four appearances, is taller than Williams at 6-foot-3 and can hit the ball hard. But once Williams found her rhythm, she couldn't be stopped, winning six games in a row and the last 12 points to close out the match.

While Williams played in mostly sunny conditions, the first rain delay of the tournament came in late afternoon.

Francesca Schiavone came through a tough opening match against Jelena Dokic 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

Schiavone and Dokic were at 1-all in the third set on Centre Court when play was halted by the showers, and play was suspended for the day on all other courts.

The retractable roof, which has been in place since 2009 but rarely used, was then closed and the match resumed in covered conditions.

The roof was added to Centre Court before the 2009 tournament and was used once that year because of rain. It was used once in 2010 because of darkness -- artificial lights go on when the roof is closed -- and occasionally to provide shade from the sun, but not because of rain.

Dokic is a former top-five player and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2000, although she hasn't won a match at the All England Club since 2003.

Three seeded women exited, including No. 28 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, who was beaten 2-6, 6-1, 8-6 by 19-year-old Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

McHale entered the day 1-6 in Grand Slam matches.

No. 17 Kaia Kanepi lost to Sara Errani 6-1, 6-4, and No. 22 Shahar Peer was eliminated 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 by Ksenia Pervak.

Otherwise, the most significant development probably was the rain that began falling at about 5 p.m., resulting in the suspension of 14 matches in progress and the postponement of 17 others.

The sixth-seeded Schiavone, who reached the French Open final this month, took advantage of two double-faults by Dokic to break for 5-3 before saving four break points in the final game.

Williams made a statement not only with her tennis but with her fashion sense -- wearing a one-piece playsuit which exposed some of her back. The outfit featured cutout sleeves, a deep V neckline and a gold belt wrapped around the waist.

"It's a jumper," Williams said. "Jumpers are very 'now,' as is lace. The shoulders have a lot of draping. It's a kind of trendy dress. It's fun. The back is a like a cutout or peekaboo. I'm always trying to do something different and fun."

Williams had been sidelined after injuring her hip at the Australian Open. She had fallen to No. 30 in the rankings but is seeded No. 23 -- the same position she held when she won the tournament in 2007. Playing in her 15th Wimbledon, she extended her record to 69-9.

Williams' second-round opponent will be Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, who became the second oldest women to win a match at Wimbledon, beating Katie O'Brien 6-0, 7-5 on Monday.

The 40-year-old Date-Krumm, the third oldest women to compete at Wimbledon in the Open era and the oldest in this year's draw, came out of retirement in 2008 but lost in the first round the last two years at the All England Club.

In another featured women's match, 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva downed 115th-ranked American Alison Riske 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. The second-seeded Russian looked in trouble after the second set against the 20-year-old Riske, whose best career results have been on grass. But Zvonareva raised her game and closed the match with an ace.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.