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QueenO
Jun 25th, 2002, 03:57 PM
Venus envy

Williams opens defense with straight-set victory
Posted: Tuesday June 25, 2002 10:08 AM

Top seed Venus Williams won 20 of 21 points on serve in the opening set Tuesday. AP
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Venus Williams opened her bid for a third consecutive Wimbledon title Tuesday with a routine Centre Court victory over a British wild card playing her first tour-level match.

The top-seeded American, aiming to become the first woman to win Wimbledon three years in a row since Steffi Graf in 1991-93, beat 344th-ranked Jane O'Donoghue 6-1, 6-1 in 44 minutes.

O'Donoghue, 19, came into the match as a 200-1 longshot with British bookmakers. She put up a gutsy performance but was never in the same league with Williams, who has won four Grand Slams and is the hardest hitter in the women's game.

"It was like David vs. Goliath in skirts," BBC television commentator Pam Shriver said.

When O'Donoghue won her first game after going down 3-0 in the first set, she pumped her fists and tried to fire up the crowd. But Williams reasserted her authority with a huge serve on the next point and wrapped up the first set in 21 minutes.

Williams won 20 of 21 points on serve in the opening set. But she had trouble with her first serve and was broken by O'Donoghue in the third game of the second set. It was just a minor blip, though, as Williams sailed the rest of the way.

When it was over, Williams broke into her only smile of the match, beaming to the crowd as she did a little twirl.

Watching in the guest box alongside British heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was Serena Williams, who is seeded to face her sister in the final.