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Nadal eases past debutant Sweeting

Venus Williams digs deep to get past Date; Doi shocks Mattek-Sands

LONDON: Defending champion Rafael Nadal eased past Wimbledon debutant Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 under the Centre Court roof on Wednesday to reach the last 32.

The World No. 1, bidding for a third title and 11th career Grand Slam crown, goes on to tackle Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who beat him here in 2005.

“I played well. I had the match under control at 2-1, 40-0 in the third set but then made a few mistakes,” said the Spaniard, who added he preferred to play without the £80 million roof covering the action.

Six-time French Open winner Nadal had already defeated Sweeting twice this year for the loss of just eight games and he was never in danger on Wednesday.

He raced through the first set courtesy of a break in the fourth game and he was just as dominant in the second, breaking in the first and third games before wrapping it up with his 11th ace of the tie.

By that stage the Spaniard had surrendered just eight points on his serve to the world 69.

Sweeting had shown his fighting spirit in the first round when he had been just two points from defeat against Spain's Pablo Andujar and he called on that doggedness to retrieve another break to level at 2-2 in the third.

But Nadal stepped it up, broke for 4-3 and took the match with a sweet volley.

Venus prevails

Venus Williams came from behind to reach the third round in a gruelling three-hour battle with 40-year-old Japanese opponent Kimiko Date-Krumm.

Williams, 31, was forced to dig deep as Date-Krumm proved to be an unexpectedly awkward opponent for the five-time Wimbledon champion, who finally prevailed 6-7(6), 6-3, 8-6 before a rapt Centre Court.

The win put Williams into a third round tie against Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez on Friday, who defeated Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-0 earlier.

Williams, seeded 23, is feeling her way back into tennis after a five-month lay-off following an injury sustained at the Australian Open in January.

The former world number one said her enforced absence from the game had rekindled her competitive fires.

“I think more than anything I've learned I'm very competitive. I've been extremely positive regardless of how my opponent's playing. Just no matter what the score, very positive. Just keeping fighting,” Williams said.

Date-Krumm, who reached the semifinals here in 1996 before later taking a 12-year sabbatical from the sport, expressed satisfaction that she had pushed her more illustrious opponent so close.

“Today was a good fight for me,” Date said.

“Of course I'm very, very disappointed. But most important, I played my tennis and showed I can fight with Venus. She's a five-time champion here. So it was a very, very good match for me.”

Williams in turn was left marvelling at the performance of her evergreen opponent.

“I played a very tough opponent today. She doesn't play anywhere near her age,” she said.

Doi stuns Mattek-Sands

There was a happier outcome for another Japanese woman however, with qualifier Misaki Doi, the world number 133, stunning 30th seed Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in the first round.

Doi made a mockery of the 102 places separating her from Mattek-Sands in the WTA rankings as the 20-year-old upset the odds on her first appearance at the All England Club to book a second round tie against China's Zheng Jie.

The left-hander has spent most of her brief career playing events below the main tour on the ITF Circuit, but she rose to the occasion magnificently in just her second Grand Slam.

Describing the win as the best of her career, Doi admitted her gameplan to remain aggressive helped ease her nerves.

“I was really nervous because it was my first time at Wimbledon,” Doi said.

“In second set she was really aggressive when I led but I was the underdog, so I thought I should be aggressive to beat her.”

Doi admits the success of China's Li Na, who became Asia's first Grand Slam champion by winning the French Open recently, has inspired her to try to emulate that victory.

“Before Li Na there was no Asian Grand Slam champion ever, so now I feel I can do it,” she said.

Elsewhere however the form book held sway as five more seeded players advanced safely to the second round.

Polish 13th seed Agnieszka Radwanska didn't drop a game in her match against Olga Govortsova, winning 6-0, 3-0 before the Belarussian retired hurt.

Italy's Flavia Pennetta, seeded 21, downed Irina Begu of Romania 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2 while Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova beat Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko 7-5, 6-3.

Slovakian 24th seed Dominika Cibulkova came from a set down to edge out Mirjana Lucic 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 but there was no such difficulty for Germany's Julia Goerges, seeded 16, who breezed past Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-0. — Agencies

Men: First round: Somdev Devvarman (Ind) bt Denis Gremelmayr (Ger) 6-4, 4-2 (retd.); 11-Jurgen Melzer (Aut) bt Alejandro Falla (Col); 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-2; 12-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Go Soeda (Jpn) 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2; John Isner (USA) bt Nicolas Mahut (Fra) 7-6(4), 6-2, 7-6(6); Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt Illya Marchenko (Ukr) 6-7(7), 7-6(9), 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Second round: 1-Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Ryan Sweeting (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4; 6-Tomas Berdych (Cze) bt  Julien Benneteau (Fra) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; 10-Mardy Fish (USA) bt  Denis Istomin (Uzb) 7-6(8), 6-4, 6-4; 17- Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Igor Kunitsyn (Rus) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; 3-Andy Murray (GBR) bt Tobias Kamke (Ger) 6-3, 6-3, 7-5; Giles Muller (Lux) bt 31-Milos Raonic (Can) 2-3 retd.; 25-Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) bt  Alex Bogomolov Jr. (USA) 6-0, 6-3, 6-4; 17-Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Igor Kunitsyn (Rus) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4;  Simone Bolelli (Ita) bt 14- Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(7).

Women: First round: 5-Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Anna Chakvetadze (Rus) 6-2 6-1; 3-Li Na (Chn) bt Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) 6-3, 6-3; 18-Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt Melanie Oudin (USA) 6-0, 6-1; 9-Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Kristyna Pliskova (Cze) 6-0, 6-2.

Andrea Hlavakova (Cze) bt Anastasia Rodionova (Aus) 6-1, 6-2; 27-Jarmila Groth (Aus) bt Alona Bondarenko (Ukr) 7-5, 6-3; 24-Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) bt Mirjana Lucic (Cro) 3-6, 6-3, 8-6; Mathilde Johansson (Fra) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; 16-Julia Goerges (Ger) bt Anabel Medina Garrigues (Esp) 6-3, 6-0; Zheng Jie (Chn) bt Zuzana Ondrasukova (Cze) 7-5, 6-0; Petra Cetkovska (Cze) bt Kristina Barrois (Ger) 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-2; 13-Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Olga Govortsova (Blr) 6-0, 3-0 retd.; Evgeniya Rodina (Rus) bt Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 6-3, 7-5; 21-Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt Irina Begu (Rom) 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-2; Sabine Lisicki (Ger) bt  Anastasija Sevastova (Lat) 6-1, 6-1.

Second round: 23-Venus Williams (USA) bt Kimiko Date-Krumm (Jpn) 6-7(6), 6-3, 8-6; Maria Jose Martinez (Esp) bt Monica Niculescu (Rom) 6-3, 6-0; 4-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Iveta Benesova (Cze) 6-0, 6-3 .

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