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Thursday, Jun 22nd

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Wimbledon

Kvitova, Serena open Wimbledon campaign with wins

petra_kvitova2Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova hasn't had the best of years since her maiden Grand Slam triumph at SW19 last year. Though she has done consistently well at the majors, making the odd semi-final appearances, her form on less glamorous stages has failed to excite. Most pundits would write it off to the honeymoon period that goes with a youngster winning their first Grand Slam, which usually comes to an end when it is time to defend that title.

World no.4 Kvitova had the honour as a result to be the first woman to walk onto Centre Court on what was traditionally Ladies Day at Wimbledon and kick-off proceedings with her parents watching from the Royal Box. Her match against Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova was supposed to be a walk in the park, but someone forgot to share that part of the script with the tall Uzbeki girl.

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Federer bulldozes Ramos to begin Wimbledon campaign with easy win, Berdych ousted

roger_federer5It may be nearly 2½ years since Roger Federer last won a Grand Slam title, yet the 6-time Wimbledon champion, continues to be one of the favourites to lift the title at SW19 everytime he steps on to the grass he has come to own over the last decade. His first hurdle on his way to catching up with Pete Sampras and a record equalling 7th title was Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos, and the 16-time Grand Slam champion made mincemeat of his challenger, powering his way to an easy 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win in an hour and 19 minutes.

Ramos, ranked well inside the top 50, failed to offer any kind of a challenge to the Swiss legend, who hit 9 aces and 33 winners on his way into the second round. The only blip in Roger's perfect day was dropping serve once in the opening set.

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Sharapova demolishes Rodionova to power her way into Second Round of Wimbledon

maria_sharapovaIt has been 8 years since Maria Sharapova last won at Wimbledon as a 17-year old upstart, who stunned Serena Williams to win her maiden Grand Slam title. Sharapova comes into this year's Championships as the new world no.1 and the reigning French Open champion, and an overwhelming favourite to end a run which has seen no woman win back to back majors at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in a decade. Maria though got her campaign off to the perfect start hammering 23 winners en route to beating Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Anastasia Rodionova of Australia in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.

Sharapova got off to a flying start in her match against Rodionova, racing through the opening five games in barely 20 minutes to take a 5-0 lead. Rodionova, playing on Center Court for the first time in her career was clearly overwhelmed, and failed to compete with the Russian, simply getting blown off the court.

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Five time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams crashes out in First Round

venus_williams_2In 1997, a 16-year old American named Venus Williams made her debut on the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon. The youngster crashed out in the first round that year, but came back the next 15 years to make 8 final appearances and lift the aptly named Venus Rosewater Dish 5 times. However, age catches up with every great Champion, and on the opening Monday of Wimbledon 2012, Venus made only her second exit in the very first round losing to young Elena Vesnina in two humbling sets 6-1, 6-3.

When you are struggling with health, fitness and form, the last court you want to play your first round match on is court 2 at Wimbledon, long fabled as the Graveyard of the Seeds. While Venus may not have been seeded this year, the court did gobble up yet another famous name as she was quite comfortably outplayed by her Russian opponent, who showed the value of being a good doubles player on the grass at Wimbledon, coming forward at will to close points early.

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Djokovic eases past Ferrero to open Wimbledon title defence with a win

novak_djokovic2World no.1 Novak Djokovic got more than a useful workout in his opening match at Wimbledon as the defending champion cruised past former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to book his place in the second round.

Having skipped all the pre-Wimbledon tune-up events, there was a slight concern about Novak's form and fitness after a disappointing conclusion to the clay court season where he went down rather tamely to Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open. However, with his first serve working to near perfection, Djokovic was able to dig himself out of any holes he found himself in, and powered his way to a comfortable win.

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Wimbledon Day 1 Women's Morning Wrap: Radwanska, Stosur, Li Na open with wins, Pennetta makes early exit

It was a good start to Wimbledon on Monday morning for most of the seeds as they rushed on and off the courts without needing to play a single three setter. Reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur won the race to see who could finish their first round matches quickest, making short work of Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro. World no.3 Agnieszka Radwanska wasn't far behind, securing her passage comfortably into the second round. There were also wins for former French Open champion Li Na and last year's surprise semi-finalist here Sabine Lisicki, but a seed did make an early exit as the unlucky Italian Flavia Pennetta crashed out at the hands of compatriot Carmila Giorgi, who made it to main draw through the qualifiers.

World no.3 Agnieszka Radwanska kicked off the action on Court no.2, easing past an injury stricken Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Radwanska though could face much sterner competition in the second round with 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams drawn to face her in round 2 for the second straight Grand Slam. Radwanska eased past Venus at the same stage of the French Open last month, but Venus is likely to pose a much more potent threat on a court she has come to regard as her second home. Before that though Venus will need to squeeze past a competent player in Elena Vesnina of Russia. That match takes place later today.

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Wimbledon 2012: Men's Draw Analysis

roger_federer3The triumvirate that headline men’s tennis Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer head into the Championship this year with their sights set firmly on hoisting the trophy. Also at stake in this process is the top spot in the ATP rankings that Djokovic seemed to have a stranglehold on since this very tournament last year. For Federer, there is the added incentive of not only equalling Pete Sampras’ 7 triumphs here but also potentially equalling his record of 286 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings. To do that he will need to win the championships, while also hoping Djokovic is eliminated by the semi-final. With the two are drawn to meet at this stage, the Swiss Maestro has a marvellous chance to do just that. But there are a host of contenders, dark horses and potential apple cart upsetters primed to spoil the fairytale scenario for either of the top 3. Andy Murray, Tsonga and Berdych have all been in contention in the past, while Raonic, Tomic, a resurgent Haas, Del Potro and Cilic will each look to make a name for himself this year. Lets then delve right into the draw to ascertain as best we can the prospects for the coming fortnight

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