Winning a first round match on the grass courts of SW19 is not an unexpected feat for a high caliber player such as Serena Williams. However, coming off a year filled with life-threatening turmoil, the defending champion could not help but breakdown into sobs on Center Court, after she beat Aravane Rezai of France, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
Clearly rattled by her uncontrollable tears Williams said, “I usually don't cry so I don't understand it. It's been so hard, I never imagined I could be here.”
Despite her lengthy absence from the game, the American had no time to get used to match play and ease into the tournament, as Rezai came out firing from the get go. The first game of the match lasted a total of 10 min. with Rezai breaking Serena's serve by playing an attacking game and pulling the American out of her comfort zone. However, holding serve proved to be difficult for Rezai as Serena found her rhythm by firing her trademark, powerful ground strokes. Williams won the next five games and seemed well on her way to the second round.
However, Rezai is not one to give up. Coming from a tough year with troubles in her own personal life, Rezai admitted that her mind has not been set on tennis for most of the season. However, in this match, the Frenchwoman seemed completely focused on the task at hand and by cutting down on the unforced errors and sticking to her simple game plan of moving Williams around, she won the second set.
The final set showed exactly why Serena has won Wimbledon four times before. After breaking serve to lead 3-1, Serena outplayed her opponent to reach the second round where she will face Romania’s Simona Halep.
In other women's action, world number one-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark also made an impressive start to her 2011 Wimbledon run by ousting Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja, 6-2, 6-1. Wozniacki was on form throughout the match with minimal unforced errors, not letting the 105th-ranked Santonja gain any momentum. This is Wozniacki’s fifth Wimbledon appearance with her best run coming in 2009 where she reached the fourth round. Will this be the year that the Dane captures her first Wimbledon crown and the first Grand Slam title of her young career?
Other notable players joining Williams and Wozniacki in the second round on day two include Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka and Marion Bartoli who all won their matches with relative ease. The upset of day came on courts three and 14 where Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat the number 15 seed, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, and Hungary’s Melinda Czink overcame the number 10 seed, Australian Samantha Stosur, 6-3, 6-4.
The second round matches in the top half of the women’s draw will take place tomorrow, on day three of Wimbledon 2011.
Summary of completed first round matches on day two:
►Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)  defeated Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 6-2, 6-1
►Virginie Razzano (FRA) defeated Sania Mirza (IND) 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3
►Serena Williams (USA)  defeated Aravane Rezai (FRA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
►Victoria Azarenka (BLR)  defeated Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-4, 3-2 ret.
►Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP) defeated Jelena Jankovic (SRB)  5-7, 6-4, 6-3
►Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)  defeated Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-4, 7-6 (3)
►Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) defeated Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 7-6 (7), 6-4
►Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) defeated Alize Cornet (FRA) 7-5, 6-2
►Rebecca Marino (CAN) defeated Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 6-3, 7-6 (5)
►Marina Erakovic (NZL) defeated Kai- Chen Chang (TPE) 6-4, 6-2
►Iveta Benesova (CZE) defeated Sandra Zahlavova (CZE) 3-6, 6-3, 8-6
►Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)  defeated Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3
►Stephanie Dubois (CAN) defeated Irina Falconi (USA) 6-2, 6-2
►Shuai Peng (CHN)  defeated Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-0, 6-4
►Simona Halep (ROU) defeated Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 6-1, 6-2
►Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) defeated Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
►Anne Keothavong (GBR) defeated Naomi Broady (GBR) 6-2, 6-4
►Elena Baltacha (GBR) defeated Mona Barthel (GER) 6-2, 6-4
►Petra Kvitova (CZE)  defeated Alexa Glatch (USA) 6-2, 6-2
►Melinda Czink (HUN) defeated Samantha Stosur (AUS)  6-3, 6-4
►Petra Martic (CRO) defeated Vania King (USA) 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
►Nadia Petrova (RUS) defeated Vesna Dolonts (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
►Tamira Paszek (AUT) defeated Ayumi Morita (JPN) 5-7, 6-3, 6-0
►Andrea Petkovic (GER)  defeated Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) 6-3, 6-4
►Marion Bartoli (FRA)  defeated Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-0, 6-2
►Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)  defeated Camila Georgi (ITA) 6-2, 6-1