Published June 25, 2013
| Sports Network
Wimbledon, England – Reigning champion and five-time titlist Serena Williams was an easy opening-round winner Tuesday at Wimbledon.
The world No. 1 superstar extended her career-best winning streak to 32 matches by handling Luxembourg's Mandy Minella 6-1, 6-3 on Centre Court at the venerable All England Club.
Williams won every point on serve in a lopsided first set, but Minella stunningly broke the American stalwart and then held for a 2-0 lead in the second.
The formidable Williams, however, then went on to win four straight games, including a pair of breaks, to assume control once again. Minella would later fight off a match point before the American great converted on a second to move on.
"For me, it's the greatest moment for a tennis player, to walk out on Centre Court," Williams said. "That was such a great moment, too. So many great memories on this court."
Williams is now 75-3 since losing in the first round at last year's French Open. The 31-year-old is the reigning Wimbledon, French Open and U.S. Open champ who owns 16 Grand Slam singles titles overall. She beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in last year's final here to capture her third Wimbledon title in four years and also captured an Olympic gold medal at the All England Club last summer.
Up next for Williams will be France's Caroline Garcia.
The high-flying Williams was joined in the round of 64 by sixth-seeded Australian Open runner-up and former French Open champ Li Na, as the Chinese star drubbed Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek 6-1, 6-1. Krajicek is the half sister of former men's Wimbledon winner Richard Krajicek.
Seventh-seeded German left-hander Angelique Kerber moved on by driving out American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4.
Also, left-handed British crowd favorite Laura Robson took out 10th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4, 11th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci vaulted past South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-1, and 14th-seeded former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur whipped Slovak Anna Schmiedlova 6-1, 6-3 on Day 2. Kirilenko was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist a year ago.
Meanwhile, 18th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova snuck past Italian Maria Elena Camerin 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; 24th-seeded Chinese Peng Shuai pasted Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2, Romanian Alexandra Cadantu vanquished 28th- seeded Austrian Tamira Paszek 6-2, 7-5; 30th-seeded German Mona Barthel held off Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; and American Alison Riske upended 31st-seeded Romina Oprandi 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 3-1, as the Swiss retired in the third set. Paszek had reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals the last two years.
Several other women landed in the second round, including American Madison Keys, hot Romanian Simona Halep, Poland's Urszula Radwanska, and 42-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm, who is the second-oldest player to win a main-draw match at Wimbledon. The great Martina Navratilova holds the record, at 47 years of age.
Halep headed to Wimbledon having won back-to-back tournaments, on clay in Germany and grass in The Netherlands, respectively. She's now enjoying an 11- match winning streak after beating Belarusian Olga Govortsova in three sets.
And Russian Olga Puchkova topped Arantxa Rus 6-4, 6-2, as the Dutchwoman Rus tied the WTA record for consecutive match losses at 17, equaling the mark set by Sandy Collins between 1984-87.
"I need to play better to win matches at this level," Rus said. "I try my best. I try to keep working hard. That's the only thing you can do."