Serena, Azarenka notch Wimbledon wins

Aleksandra Wozniak hits a return to Vera Dushevina during their singles match at Wimbledon on...

Aleksandra Wozniak hits a return to Vera Dushevina during their singles match at Wimbledon on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

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, Last Updated: 7:51 PM ET

LONDON - Four-time champion Serena Williams, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and reigning titlist Petra Kvitova were a trio of opening-round winners Tuesday at The Championships, Wimbledon.

The sixth-seeded Williams waltzed past Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-4 in 80 minutes on Court 2 at the famed All England Club. Williams rebounded from her stunning opening-round loss at the French Open last month, which marked her first-ever first-round setback at a major (47-1).

Williams' older sister Venus lost on Court 2 here on Monday.

The 30-year-old Serena owns 13 major titles, including the four here at Wimbledon, where she's also a two-time runner-up.

Serena will face Hungarian Melinda Czink on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the second-seeded Azarenka took care of American Irina Falconi 6-1, 6-4 on Court 1.

Azarenka reached her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon last year and captured her first career major title at the Australian Open in January.

Up next for the Belarusian star will be Swiss Romina Oprandi.

The fourth-seeded Kvitova handled 6-foot-3 Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-4, 6-4, following a brief rain delay, on Centre Court. The Czech slugger Kvitova blew a match point just before rain sent the women off the court for about 30 minutes on Day 2. When the players returned to action, it was over in three minutes.

Kvitova beat reigning French Open champ Maria Sharapova in last year's women's finale at the All England Club.

"It was unbelievable to come back here as the defending champion," Kvitova said. "In the beginning I think I was nervous -- first match on the grass it's always difficult to know what you can expect. I had a lot of mistakes and then I tried to play my game and go forward."

Kvitova will face Britain's Elena Baltacha in her next outing.

Ninth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli cruised past Aussie Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 6-4, while 12th-seeded former Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva completed a darkness-suspended match from Monday by besting German Mona Barthel 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. The French Bartoli reached the final here five years ago, while the Russian Zvonareva was the Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up in 2010.

Rising 28th-seeded American Christina McHale edged out Britain's Johanna Konta 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 10-8 in a match that was suspended because of darkness on Monday with the score tied at 7-7 in the third set.

In other action involving seeds, Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens upended No. 19 Czech Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-0; No. 21 Italian Roberta Vinci brushed aside Aussie Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-4; No. 24 Italian Francesca Schiavone overcame promising Brit Laura Robson 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; No. 25 Chinese Zheng Jie came back to beat Canadian Stephanie Dubois 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; No. 26 Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues got past Romanian Simona Halep 3-6, 6-1, 6-2; No. 31 Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova drilled veteran Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-1, 6-2; and Belgian Yanina Wickmayer upended No. 32 Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-3. The former top-five star Kuznetsova is a two-time major champion who has never made it past the Wimbledon quarters.

Several other women reached the second round, including American Varvara Lepchenko and Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak. Lepchenko leveled Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-2, 6-3, while Wozniak handled Russian Vera Dushevina 6-2, 7-5.

Several matches were suspended or postponed because of rain on Tuesday. Seventh-seeded former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was leading Austrian Tamira Paszek 2-1, 10th-seeded surprise French Open runner-up Sara Errani was ahead of American Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 5-3, and 22nd-seeded German Julia Goerges was beating Israeli Shahar Peer 6-2, 1-1 when play was called.

The first round will conclude while the second round will get underway on Wednesday, including a match for the top-seeded former Wimbledon champion Sharapova.

The 2004 Wimbledon winner will meet Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova on Day 3. The capable Pironkova reached the semifinals here two years ago and quarterfinals last year.

Sharapova completed a career Grand Slam with her first French Open title three weeks ago and has appeared in three of the last four major finals.

Also scheduled for second-round action on Wednesday are third-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, fifth-seeded reigning U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur, eighth-seeded rising German Angelique Kerber, and 11th-seeded former French Open champ Li Na.


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