• Wimbledon, Day Two

Kvitova overcomes shaky start to defence

ESPN staff
June 26, 2012

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Defending champion Petra Kvitova kicked off the defence of her Wimbledon title with a nervy victory over Akgul Amanmuradova on Centre Court.

Kvitova, who overwhelmed Maria Sharapova 12 months ago to win her maiden grand slam on the same court, made a nervy start against her unheralded opponent bought got her nerves under control in time to secure a 6-4 6-4 victory that also included a rain delay.

The Czech immediately fell 3-0 down against Amanmuradova to start the match, sparking suggestions that a real shock could be on the cards. But she quickly found both her own rhythm and the measure of her Uzbeki opponent - clinching six of the next seven games to take the first set.

The second set followed that trend, with Kvitova earning her first set point just as the rain set in. But the No. 4 shot squandered that chance as the covers came on - forcing her to wait 25 minutes before returning to court to finish off the job. She will now face Britain's Elena Baltacha in round two.

After seeing her sister Venus removed from the tournament in no uncertain terms on Monday, Serena Williams comfortably avoided the same fate as she overcame Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets, 6-2 6-4.

Williams, the four-time champion at the All England Club, needed 80 minutes to eventually secure the win - as she was broken three times in a performance that posed a few questions about her long-term chances.

Second seed Victoria Azarenka was relieved to come through her contest against Irina Falconi relatively unscathed, as she clinched a 6-1 6-4 victory that included a tense second set.

Falconi, the American, was guilty of wasting numerous break point opportunities in the opening stanza but took two of three in the second, forcing Azarenka to dig deep in order to progress to the next phase.

Twelfth seed Vera Zvonareva overcame Mona Barthel in three sets to secure her place in the second round, as did Ana Pavlyuchenkova - beating Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-1 6-2.

Elsewhere, French Open semi-finalist Yaroslava Shvedova needed two hard-fought tiebreaks to defeat Chanelle Scheepers, while last year's quarter-finalist Marion Bartoli also progressed.

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