Tennis: Venus crushes Wozniak at Wimbledon
Updated: Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 23:11
Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams stayed among the contenders for Olympic gold at the All England Club after a ruthless second-round victory.
The 32-year-old American is seeking a record fourth Olympic tennis gold and set up a clash with Angelique Kerber, a beaten semi-finalist at Wimbledon barely three weeks ago, by rolling to a 6-1 6-3 win over Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak.
Williams was afforded a Centre Court stage and said: "Of course, it's nice to be out here. Me and Wozniak had a tough match earlier this year. She had match points so, of course, I respect her game but I think this surface helped me a lot and, of course, my experience."
Williams is enjoying representing the United States, with the experience of playing Olympic grass-court tennis at her favourite grand slam venue living up to all expectations.
"What bigger reason is there?" she said. "I just want to play well for USA. I love this surface and I have had so much success here."
Williams was bundled out by Russia's Elena Vesnina in the first round of the season's third grand slam last month but has looked more like her old self on her return to SW19.
Wozniak said: "Venus played amazingly well. She was really in her zone today. She played so hard and heavy, it was really tough to play my game.
"We had some really fast, powerful exchanges, but she was on top of her game. Grass really suits her. She played amazingly.
"It feels like it's really her tournament, she's unbeatable here.
"The way she played today I don't think she could have played better."
German Kerber thrashed Hungarian Timea Babos 6-1 6-1.
Belarusian top seed Victoria Azarenka beat Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1 6-2 to also reach the third round, while Germany's Sabine Lisicki defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 4-6 6-3 7-5.
Russians Maria Sharapova and Maria Kirilenko combined to make it a frustrating day for Britain's women.
Third seed Sharapova struggled in the first set as Laura Robson forced a tie-break, but won out 7-6 (7/5) 6-3.
Playing in an Olympics for the first time, Sharapova was excited about the enthusiam of the crowd.
She said: "You feel the energy. I feel like the Wimbledon crowd is a little more polite, a little calmer. There are a lot more flags here. I love the atmosphere."
Many in the crowd were rooting for Robson but that did not subdue Sharapova.
"Obviously I was playing someone from Great Britain and most of the people were cheering for her," Sharapova said. "Still, in the back of my mind I heard my Russian cheers and my name being yelled in Russian, even though there were less than the Great British ones today."
Kirilenko defeated Heather Watson in straight sets, 6-3 6-2.
Kirilenko said: "I think it was a tough match. Every game I think we played great, all the rallies were amazing. The quality of tennis was good."
Germany's Julia Goerges followed up her opening-round win over Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska by posting a 6-3 7-5 win against American Varvara Lepchenko.