Two seeds were dug up, and more threatened before darkness suspended play on the opening day of Wimbledon.
Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama topped No. 24 seed Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-4, and Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone outlasted No. 23 seed Aleksandra Wozniak 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
The Top 10 seeds in action breezed through with (2) Serena Williams, (4) Elena Dementieva, (8) Victoria Azarenka and (10) Nadia Petrova through without dropped a set. No. 7 Vera Zvonareva was at one-set all against Georgie Stoop when darkness suspended play.
“My opponent definitely increased her level in the second set,” said the younger Williams sister, one of the odds-on favorites this year along with her sister Serena, though neither sit at the No. 1 ranking. “It’s just a point here or there that can break a match, so concentration was important. I thought I could have played better on the key points, but hopefully I’ll get there as the tournament progresses.”
No. 14 Dominika Cibulkova struggled through in three sets over France’s Julie Coin 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Maria Sharapova, who was handed a No. 24 seed by the Wimbledon committee, beat Viktoria Kutuzova 7-5, 6-4.
“I played against a really solid opponent who went for many shots and who’s aggressive, playing like she didn’t have much to lose,” Sharapova said. “Her game suits the grass well and she had three good matches in qualifying, so I knew she’d be dangerous. I just hung in there. There’s still work to be done, but I always feel pretty comfortable on the grass.”
Among notable un-seeds, teen Michelle Larcher De Brito topped Klara Zakopalova, German Anna-Lena Groenefeld bounced India’s Sania Mirza, and former Top 10er Daniela Hantuchova outlasted Brit Laura Robson 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The Australian-born 15-year-old Brit Robson was playing her first Grand Slam match after winning the junior title last year.
“I’m a little bit upset, but I’m pretty proud of myself. I thought I played really, really well for a good part of the match, and then in the end a couple of things let me down a bit,” Robson said. “I don’t know what happened. I was a set and a break up, then I just got really nervous. I made a few more mistakes than I should have. But she started putting more balls in the court.”
Highlights of Tuesday play in England includes (3) Venus Williams vs. Swiss Stefanie Voegele, world No. 1 Dinara Safina vs. Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino, (9) Caroline Wozniacki vs. veteran 38-year-old comebacker Kimiko Date Krumm, former No. 1 (17) Amelie Mauresmo vs. Melinda “The Fifth Element” Czink, Czech Lucie Hradecka vs. struggling former No. 1 (13) Ana Ivanovic, American Alexa Glatch vs. China’s Shuai Peng, (18) Samantha Stosur vs. American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, (29) Sybille Bammer vs. American Melanie Oudin, Spanish comer Carla Suarez Navarro vs. (25) Kaia Kanepi, an all-Italian in Alberta Brianti vs. Tathiana Garbin, and in doubles the (4) Williams sisters vs. France’s Virginie Razzano and Aravane Rezai.
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