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Bite-sized highlights from day 1 at the Olympic tennis

Serena Williams celebrates her first win at the Olympic tennis
by Alexandra Willis
Saturday 28 July 2012

Don’t doubt her

Serena Williams wants gold. And she showed it, with an emphatic 6-3, 6-1 win over Jelena Jankovic. Ever Serena, her response was “I actually think I played solid.”

The first winner

It was all smiles for Kim Clijsters, who became the first singles winner with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Roberta Vinci.

The scare

It was all going perfectly for Roger Federer as he brought up three match points against Alejandro Falla leading by a set and 5-3. But inexplicabaly, the Colombian suddenly fought back, won the second set, and sent Federer into a third. The great Swiss prevailed, but it was not easy.

Best of British

Elena Baltacha revealed that seeing herself in her Olympics kit urged her on as she won her debut Olympic match 6-3, 6-3 over Agnes Szavay. Baltacha later revealed she is due to have shin surgery that could potentially end her career.

There was not such good news for Anne Keothavong, who pushed Caroline Wozniacki very hard on Centre, finally surrendering in three sets. Quite a way to rise to the big occasion.

The upsets

Afforded the honour of re-opening Centre Court just three weeks after the finish of The Championships, Tomas Berdych failed to live up to it spectacularly, defeated in straight sets by Steve Darcis. He looked a far cry from the man who played in the Wimbledon final two years ago.

Another surprise was Tamira Paszek, Eastbourne champion, going down in two sets to Alize Cornet. Not one I would have picked. Similarly, Urszula Radwanska had little trouble beating Mona Barthel 6-4. 6-3.

Fernando Verdasco was narrowly thumped 6-4, 7-6 by Denis Istomin, the 14th seed continuing his lack of big wins, while Li Na will have disappointed a nation with her 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 defeat to Daniela Hantuchova.

Toys and prams

So much has been said about Ryan Harrison that he was surely expected to beat clay courter Santiago Giraldo and continue to anoint himself as American’s golden boy-to-be. But instead, throwing several toys out of the pram as he did so, Harrison played well below his best, and was beaten by Giraldo in straight sets.

Cruising through in two

Janko Tipsarevic over Nalbandian, John Isner over Olivier Rochus, Philipp Petzhschner over Lukas Lacko, Vera Zvonareva over Sofia Arvidsson, Ana Ivanovic over Christina McHale, Nicolas Almagro over Viktor Troicki, Julien Benneteau over Mikhail Youzhny, Grigor Dimitrov over Lukasz Kubot, Tsvetana Pironkova over Dominika Cibulkova, Andreas Seppi over Donald Young, Gilles Muller over Adrian Ungur, Alex Bogomolov Jr over Carlos Berlocq, and Juan Martin Del Potro over Ivan Dodig.

Marathon matches

Peng Shaui  took three sets to see off Su-Wei Hsieh,6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5, Malek Jaziri, the lone African in the draw, took three to beat Yen-Hsun Lu 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, Yanina Wickmayer battled past Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, and Flavia Penetta took three to beat Sorana Cirstea, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Francesca Schiavone battled past Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, and Petra Kvitova came through against Kateryna Bondarenko 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

But the most marathon of matches was Carla Suarez Navarro’s 3-6, 7-5, 10-8 win over Sam Stosur, the Australian continuing her miserable record on grass.

Quickest win

Yaroslava Shvedova and Galina Voskoboeva saw off Stephanie Dubois and Aleksandra Wozniak 6-2, 6-0. Ouch.

Notable doubles

The Bryan brothers had a three-set toughie against Brazil’s Bellucci and Sa, the Murray brothers were ousted by Melzer and Peya, but the upset of the day was the loss of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, the fourth seeds, to David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez.

There was a very big almost upset, too, for Laura Robson and Heather Watson, who lead Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber by a set and a break before the fifth seeds came steam-rollering back as the light faded.

Quote of the day

“I mean, I love Michelle. I gave her a thumbs up just to acknowledge that I knew she was here.”

Serena Williams on being asked if Michelle Obama could sit in her family box

Most famous face

Michelle Obama. The First Lady eschewed the Olympic Family box, on hiatus from being the Royal Box, in favour of sitting in Serena’s player box. Obama is no stranger to a tennis court, and it was great to see her cheering Serena on. As one tweeter pointed out, it was quite an upgrade from the likes of Kim Kardashian.

Golf star Rory McIlroy was later on Centre Court to watch Caroline Wozniacki.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.

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