LONDON (AP) — This was not the Serena Williams the tennis world is used to seeing on Centre Court. It was still good enough for the defending Wimbledon champion to advance to the second round in straight sets.
Struggling on serve and failing to dominate against a 148th-ranked Swiss qualifier playing in her first Grand Slam tournament, Williams labored to a 6-2, 6-4 victory Tuesday over Amra Sadikovic — the 80th match win of her Wimbledon career.
What looked on paper like a complete mismatch turned into a tighter contest than expected.
“I never underestimate anyone,” said Williams, who had only four aces and served five double faults. “It was a really good match but I don’t think it was tougher than I thought. It was definitely tough, but I always expect the best from everyone.”
With her mother, Oracene Price, watching from the Royal Box, the six-time Wimbledon champion jumped out to a 3-0 lead, running off 13 points in a row at one stage, defying her reputation as a slow starter.
“I started fast, that’s about it,” Williams said when asked what positives she took from her performance.