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Wimbledon begins, Venus Williams advances

June 20, 2011 |  6:09 am

Venus Williams Venus Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion, arrived (un)fashionably late for her first-round noon match Monday on Court 2 at 12:10.

The 31-year-old Williams, who has struggled this year with an abdominal injury that has kept her away from tennis since the Australian Open, beat 26-year-old Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-1.  Williams, by the way, wore a skimpy jumpsuit, all white in a nod to Wimbledon tradition, but quite short and with a large slit in the back.

Williams nearly hit Amanmuradova once with a ferocious forehand that made Amanmuradova first cringe, then put her hands up and, finally, laugh.

Amanmuradova had never played Williams before, and the match took only an hour. Venus finished off the 35-minute first set with a service game that included an ace and two service winners. Williams finished with seven aces.

At the end of what became a typical first-round performance in a major tournament for Williams, she raised her hands to the crowd.  Williams is now 50-3 in Grand Slam tournament first-rounders and has won 18 straight since losing her first match at the 2006 Australian Open. Amanmuradova, on the other hand, is now 0-4 at Wimbledon. She was never able to put any pressure on Williams.

Also a first-round winner was 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm, of Japan, who beat Britain’s Katie O’Brien, 6-0, 7-5. Date-Krumm will play Williams in the second round.

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-- Diane Pucin, reporting from Wimbledon

Photo: Venus Williams celebrates her win over Akgul Amanmuradova in their first round at Wimbledon, June 20, 2011. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press

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