Venus Williams looking good at Wimbledon

Venus Williams looking good at Wimbledon

Published June 22, 2010

WIMBLEDON, England – Venus Williams took the Wimbledon stage in a Tina Turner dress and quickly found her groove.

Williams' latest tennis outfit won't cause the international stir created by her French Open corset, but it was eye-catching: a white dress with a skirt that might set a Grand Slam record for frills.

Her game also looked good as the five-time Wimbledon champion beat Rossana de los Rios in the first round Monday, 6-3, 6-2.

Williams' latest fashion design resembled outfits worn by Turner when she sang hit songs in the 1970s and '80s.

"I love Tina Turner," Williams said. "Obviously she's just an amazing, amazing artist, just a survivor. She reinvented herself. Plus she looks great. I've loved her forever. So the dress is really inspired by her."

In Paris, Williams said her black burlesque outfit created an "illusion of bareness." At Wimbledon, she had to make allowances for the All England Club's conservative dress code.

"Here it's all about white," she said. "There is no illusion this time. Still had the lace motif. I think it's just a fun, elegant dress."

There's a good chance fans will see it during the trophy ceremony. She has reached the final eight times, including the past three years in a row, winning the tournament in 2007-08 and losing to her sister Serena in the 2009 final.

She's seeded second this year to Serena, who was to play her opening match Tuesday. Others on the schedule for the second day of the tournament included Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling.

While Williams won easily, six-time men's champion Roger Federer had to dig out of a big grass-court hole to beat Alejandro Falla 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0.

"I definitely got very lucky," Federer said.

No. 5 Andy Roddick, who lost to Federer in last year's epic final, began his title bid by beating fellow American Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Dustin Brown, the first Jamaican man to play in a Grand Slam tournament since 1974, lost to No. 16 Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin began Wimbledon comebacks with victories. Clijsters won easily in her first match at the All England Club since 2006, beating Maria Elena Camerin 6-0, 6-3. Henin, playing at Wimbledon for the first time since 2007, defeated Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-3.

Henin, who retired from tennis in 2008 and returned early this year, seeks a Wimbledon title to complete a career Grand Slam.

"It's been one of the reasons why I decided to come back," she said. "That remains a dream for me."

American Melanie Oudin, who made a surprising run to the fourth round last year as a 17-year-old, defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-3, 6-0. French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost to Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-1 in nearly three hours.

The only other seeded woman to lose was No. 34 Kateryna Bondarenko.

Four seeded men lost: No. 11 Marin Cilic, No. 17 Ivan Ljubicic, No. 20 Stanislas Wawrinka and No. 30 Tommy Robredo.

The first day's play began in warm sunshine and ended with the Centre Court roof closed at twilight to allow the completion of No. 3 Novak Djokovic's victory over Olivier Rochus, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Venus Williams played the last match of the day on Court 1 and waited until evening to start. She steered clear of TVs showing Federer's marathon.

"It was a tight match," Williams said. "It's tough to watch someone like him get so close to losing. So I tried not to watch it."

Her own match produced no such drama. She won the first five games, lost three in a row and then resumed her march into the second round.

As always, the Williams sisters played no grass-court warm-up events, but Venus looked at home on her favorite surface. She hit six aces and had a 31-4 edge in winners.

"Been practicing on the grass since Wednesday," she said. "So I feel like I had a good feel for it. I was just ready to go for it."

Written by STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer


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