Wimbledon 2015: Serena Williams through to second round
Last updated on .From the section Tennis
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World number one Serena Williams overcame a minor blip against debutant Margarita Gasparyan to progress to the second round of Wimbledon.
Five-time champion Williams, 33, was broken in the first game of the match, but came through to win 6-4 6-1.
Williams, the Australian and French Open champion, was not at her best - forced to save six break points - but ultimately had too much nous.
Lucie Safarova, semi-finalist last year, beat Alison Riske 3-6 7-5 6-3.
Sixth seeded Czech Safarova was down a set to American Riske and trailed 5-3 in the second before fighting back to take the match into a third set.
Williams, meanwhile, is the favourite for the women's title.
Should she triumph at SW19 for a sixth time, the top seed will move closer to completing a calendar Grand Slam and emulate Steffi Graf, who won all four titles in 1988.
But to the surprise of many, 20-year-old Russian Gasparyan - 113 places below the world number one in the rankings - broke the American at the start. Parity was restored in the sixth game, when Williams seized on her second break point of the game to level at 3-3, her opponent's backhand volley drifting wide.
|What's on - and when?|
|Wimbledon order of play||Women's World Cup schedule|
|British Grand Prix||The Ashes|
Although Gasparyan was not initially overawed, confidently hitting clean winners, Williams eventually overpowered her opponent as the experience of a woman who has lost just one of her 59 first-round matches in Grand Slams told.
Williams went 3-0 ahead in the second set and when she saved three break points in the fifth game for a 4-1 lead, victory felt like an inevitability.
The win, her 73rd singles victory at Wimbledon to draw level with sister Venus, was achieved with a vicious overhead smash on her second match point.
The American will next play Timea Babos of Hungary.
Venus in a rush
Venus Williams joined her sister in the second round with a comfortable 6-0 6-0 win against fellow American Madison Brengle.
The 25-year-old could not handle Venus's power as the five-time champion breezed to victory in just 42 minutes.
The win keeps alive the prospect of Venus meeting Serena in the fourth round.
"It would be great if I can continue to play well and get there, play next week. That would be great," said Venus, who has played four Wimbledon finals against her sister.
Seventh seed Ivanovic impresses
Seventh seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia also had little trouble securing her passage into the second round, overcoming Chinese qualifier Yifan Xu 6-1 6-1 in just over one hour.
Two-time semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka, the 23rd seed from Belarus, defeated Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 6-2 6-1 while Australian Samantha Stosur beat Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-4 6-4.
Finally, last week's Eastbourne champion Belinda Bencic of Switzerland battled back from a set down to beat Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6 6-1 6-3.