Serena Williams celebrates
Image credit: Getty Images
The American 25th seed, playing her first tournament since withdrawing midway through the French Open, peaked in the decisive moments to come through 7-5 7-6(2).
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Williams, a seven-time champion at SW19, next faces Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina.
While she failed to hit the heights that carried her to those titles, the 36-year-old will be buoyed by the news that eight of the top 10 seeds have already fallen in the women’s draw.
Williams has now won 17 consecutive matches at Wimbledon including the 2015 and 2016 titles.
She missed last year's tournament because she was pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.
Another Wimbledon triumph would move her level with Margaret Court on 24 Grand Slam titles at the top of the record charts.
Geraint Thomas (Stage 11, 2018)