/ Tennis

Veterans Venus and Date-Krumm progress

Updated: Tuesday, 21 Jun 2011 09:41

Venus Williams - Eased past the challenge of Akgul Amanmuradova
Venus Williams - Eased past the challenge of Akgul Amanmuradova

Five-time champion Venus Williams and 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm reached the Wimbledon second round Monday, striking an early blow for the tournament's senior citizens at the 125th Championships.

Williams, 31, was untroubled in disposing of Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3, 6-1, showing no signs of the hip injury which kept her off the tour for five months until her Eastbourne return last week.

The American, whose choice of a loose-fitting, zipped-up, baggy outfit caused as much conversation as her free-flowing tennis on Court Two, fired 23 winners past the Uzbek.

'Coming into any major there is a bit of tension and because I haven't played a lot I think that adds a little pressure on me,' Venus said.

'But it's always great to be back. I think playing a few matches at Eastbourne helpd me feel comfortable here. I was happy to be playing at all after missing so much of the year. That was a big plus for me today.'

Williams now takes on Date-Krumm who became the second oldest winner of a singles match at Wimbledon with her 6-0, 7-5 demolition of British wild card Katie O'Brien.

Date-Krumm, a semi-finalist at the All England Club in 1996 and who made her debut in 1989, had the honour of playing the first match on the new Court Three which has replaced the old Court Two, the former Graveyard of the Champions.

Last year's beaten finalist Vera Zvonareva made a winning return as the Russian second seed defeated America's Alison Riske 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.

Zvonareva's last match at the All England Club 12 months ago ended painfully as she lost in straight sets against Serena Williams in her first Grand Slam final appearance.

The 26-year-old, who was also beaten by Kim Clijsters in the US Open final, was pushed hard by world number 118 Riske, but eventually prevailed to set up a second round match against compatriot Elena Vesnina.

Former French and US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova fought back from a set down to defeat Zhang Shuai 3-6 6-3 6-4 while 19th seed Yanina Wickmayer saw off Varvara Lepchenko 7-5 6-3.

Seeds Kaia Kanepi and Shahar Peer were early casualties and American teenager Christina McHale buried the memory of her collapse from 5-0 up in the decider against Sara Errani at the French Open by knocking out 28th seed Ekaterina Makarova 2-6 6-1 8-6.