Newspaper article International New York Times

Serena and Djokovic Advance to 2nd Round

Newspaper article International New York Times

Serena and Djokovic Advance to 2nd Round

Article excerpt

A scary beginning for Serena Williams turned into what was expected: the first step in her multilayered quest for glory. On Centre Court, Novak Djokovic made quick work of Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The fist pumps and shouts somehow seemed out of place.

This was Serena Williams, arguably the best women's player in the history of tennis, and she was screaming in exultation when her opponent hit into the net, a reaction more typical of a later-round match against a highly ranked opponent than a first-round encounter with an inexperienced qualifier.

But after a sluggish opening in which she was broken in the first game, and was only points away from trailing, 0-4, in the first set, Williams needed some kind of an emotional kickstart, and her screams of self-encouragement ultimately helped her overwhelm Margarita Gasparyan, 6-4, 6-1.

By the time Williams, the No.1 seed, had the match under control, and victory seemed inevitable, her outbursts were more restrained.

When she finally won, on an overpowering overhead slam, she merely stood at the net and waited to shake her brave opponent's hand. A scary beginning had turned into what was expected: the first step in Williams's multilayered quest for glory.

Williams is seeking her 21st title at a major tournament and a calendar-year Grand Slam. She won the Australian Open and the French Open and needs Wimbledon and the United States Open later in the summer to accomplish the task. If she wins here, it will leave her one short of Steffi Graf's career record of 22 major titles.

"It's definitely historic, I guess," Williams said. "But it's also six matches away. It's definitely not guaranteed."

Williams has struggled at Wimbledon in recent years, losing in the third round to Alize Cornet last year and to Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round in 2013. Although she has had a terrific year, she was not at her best at the French Open, but was still able to win. That form followed here Monday, though Gasparyan, whose aggressive approach seemed to unsettle Williams early on, deserved credit for her display of tennis, which includes a rare one-handed backhand. …

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