London, England (Sports Network) - Former champion Maria Sharapova eased into
the second round, while five-time winner Venus Williams suffered a first-
round loss at Wimbledon for the first time in 15 years on Monday.
The world No. 1 Sharapova won her eighth straight Grand Slam match by handling
Russian-born Aussie Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 6-3 on the famed Centre Court at
the All England Club.
Sharapova is trying to become the first woman to win the French Open and
Wimbledon in the same year since Serena Williams turned the trick 10 years
ago. Sharapova captured her first-ever French Open title three weeks ago to
become the 10th woman in tennis history to secure the career Grand Slam.
The 25-year-old Sharapova captured her lone Wimbledon championship as a 17-
year-old in 2004 and was last year's runner-up here to powerful Czech
lefthander Petra Kvitova. The Russian star has appeared in three of the last
four major finals (1-2).
Meanwhile, the former world No. 1 Venus succumbed to Russian Elena Vesnina
6-1, 6-3 in 1 hour, 15 minutes on Court 2. Vesnina cruised past a listless
Venus in seven games in the first set and got the break she needed for a 4-2
lead in the second and never looked back.
The 32-year-old Venus titled here in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 and
is a three-time Wimbledon runner-up.
She's now 71-11 at tennis' most prestigious event and hadn't lost in the first
round here since making her Wimbledon debut in 1997.
"Give credit to her, she played very well," Venus said of the 25-year-old
Vesnina, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three years ago.
Venus has played sparingly over the last year after being diagnosed with
Sjogren's syndrome, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and
Meanwhile, Agnieszka Radwanska, Samantha Stosur, Li Na and Sabine Lisicki
were a slew of seeded players advancing on Day 1.
The third-seeded Radwanska earned a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Slovakia's
Magdalena Rybarikova, while Stosur, the fifth seed and reigning U.S. Open
champion, eased past Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-1, 6-3. The 11th-seeded
former French Open champ Li thumped Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan, 6-3, 6-1, and
Lisicki, a semifinalist last year at the All England Club, cruised to a 6-4,
6-2 victory over Croatia's Petra Martic.
Italy's Camila Giorgi provided the first upset of the tournament with a 6-4,
6-3 win over 16th-seeded countrymate Flavia Pennetta.
The Sports Network