Venus, Sugiyama sail | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 25, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 25, 2008

The Championships Wimbledon

Venus, Sugiyama sail

Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza plays a forehand return against Colombian Catalina Castano in the first round of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Club in London yesterday. Mirza won 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-4.Photo: AFP

Defending champion Venus Williams successfully launched her bid for a fifth Wimbledon title on Tuesday as a sun-kissed All England Club waited to greet fellow superstars Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova.
Williams recovered from an early break to see off Britain's Naomi Cavaday 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 and will meet another Briton Anne Keothavong for a place in the last 32.
Williams, 28, was a break down in the first set but she then simply outgunned her opponent in the second set to join sister Serena in the second round.
Japan's Ai Sugiyama celebrated her record 57th consecutive appearance at a Grand Slam with a first round 6-4, 6-2 win over Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.
Sugiyama, 32, who now plays Flavia Pennetta, the Italian 22nd seed, took sole possession of the longest Grand Slam appearance streak for a man or woman, pulling clear of the previous holder, South Africa's Wayne Ferreira.
Fittingly Sugiyama took the record here at Wimbledon, where she is now playing for the 16th year in a row.
"I never thought that I would beat the record when I started out so many years ago," Sugiyama told AFP.
"I'm not sure how long I can carry on but the secret is in the motivation."
Fellow Asian favourite Sania Mirza of India, the 32nd seed, playing only her fourth match since March, needed treatment on shoulder and back injuries but still was too good for Colombia's Catalina Castano 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-4.
The 21-year-old now plays Spanish qualifier Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez next knowing a win would give take her to the third round for the first time.
Later Tuesday, Nadal begins his campaign to become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back when he tackles German qualifier Andreas Beck, a Grand Slam debutant and fellow left-hander.
Nadal won his first career grasscourt title at Queen's last week and has been a runner-up to six-time Roger Federer for the last two years.
Andy Roddick, the 2004 and 2005 runner-up, faces Argentina's Eduardo Schwank while British hope Andy Murray meets French veteran Fabrice Santoro.
Women's second seed Jelena Jankovic opens her Wimbledon against Olga Savchuk of Ukraine while 2004 champion Maria Sharapova takes on France's Stephanie Foretz.

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