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Serena Williams back in the SW19 groove

PUMPED UP: Serena Williams

THERE WERE mixed fortunes for a trio of Americans on the opening day of Wimbledon. Serena and Venus Williams won their matches while US Open champion Sloane Stephens crashed to a surprise defeat.

Serena Williams, just months after giving birth, returned to one of her favourite championships with a 7-5, 6-3 success against Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus. The seven-time singles winner at Wimbledon, said post match: “It felt good to play, just to be back on the grass. Two years, over a year. It definitely felt good.

“I'm just taking it one at a time. I don't think I was at my best today, but I'm practicing much better. I feel as long as I, you know, keep going, hopefully I'll be able to get there.”

Elder sister Venus battled from a set down to beat Johanna Larsson 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 in round one.

The elder Williams sister said of her return to SW19: "It's great to be back. I think it's everyone's favourite tournament.

Of her gutsy Swedish foe she added: “I really haven't played her before. She played well. There were moments where I could have played better, and was just playing better in those moments in the last two sets.”

Stephens, who won the US Open last August, was felled by Donna Vekic. The fourth-seeded American looked out of sorts in a 6-1 6-3 loss to the world number 55 who caused problems with her big hitting.

A candid Stephens had no excuses when she admitted: “It was a bit windy, but I think that Donna played a good match. It was just a tough day for me a lot of things weren't going as I would have liked them to. Sometimes it happens.

"But all things that I could have controlled, move my feet a little bit more, things like that. Yeah, like I said, just a tough day."

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