Serena, Kerber cruise into second round amid wind chaos

World No. 1 Serena Williams and second seed Angelique Kerber progressed through the first round of the Rio Olympics tennis on Sunday despite windy conditions that delayed play on most of the smaller tennis courts.

Serena Williams won 6-4, 6-2 against Australia's Daria Gavrilova.   -  Getty Images

World No. 1 Serena Williams and second seed Angelique Kerber progressed through the first round of the Rio Olympics tennis on Sunday despite windy conditions that delayed play on most of the smaller tennis courts.

Williams won 6-4, 6-2 against Australia's Daria Gavrilova, ranked 42 in the world, but she was far from her best. The 34-year-old grew increasingly frustrated as the match wore on but was rarely threatened by Gavrilova on centre court.

“The conditions definitely didn't make it easy,” said Williams, the London 2012 Olympic champion and winner of 22 Grand Slams.

Germany's Kerber, who won the 2016 Australian Open, dispatched Colombia's Mariana Duque-Marino in two sets 6-3, 7-5 but also struggled with wind after a long delay to her match.

London Games Olympic champion Andy Murray was the highest-ranking male player to pass the first round after a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory against Serbia's Viktor Troicki. Top seed Novak Djokovic was due to play later in the evening against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro.

A ripping wind delayed the start of most tennis matches on the second day, while even those playing on the more protected Centre Court fell foul to the conditions.

“That was first time of my life that I play in (such) terrible conditions. The wind was so fast and the match become so ugly,” said Thomaz Bellucci, the top-ranked Brazilian who opened on centre court. “It was almost impossible.”

Bellucci, ranked 55 in the world, scraped through into the second round after Germany's Dustin Brown rolled his ankle and had to retire despite leading 6-4, 4-5.

Gusts of wind also caused havoc with fans as their plastic cups went flying and umbrellas at food tables had to be lowered in case they overturned.

 

Venus upset by Flipkens in first-round match

Venus Williams will have to lean on her younger sister if she wants to add another Olympic medal after she was beaten by Kirsten Flipkens on Saturday.

The United States stalwart was upset 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) by Belgium's Flipkens in the first round of the Rio Games, a disappointing showing for the number five seed in what will surely be her final Olympics.

Flipkens collapsed on the green hardcourt in elation after winning the third-set tie-break, exhausted after a match that lasted three hours, 13 minutes.

The decisive breaker came moments after the Belgian was broken to love by Williams when she had a chance to serve out the match.

Williams, 36, won the singles gold medal 16 years ago in Sydney and has doubles gold medals with sister Serena from 2000, 2008 and 2012.

The Williams sisters are the top seed in the Rio doubles tournament and are in first-round action on Sunday.

Former world No.1 Wozniacki knocked out

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova knocked out former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the second round of the Rio Olympics on Monday, in another poorly attended tennis match on centre court.

Twice Wimbledon champion Kvitova overpowered Wozniacki 6-2 6-4 to progress to the third round, where she will face either Russia's Ekaterina Makarova or Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

''It was a tough draw for me. Petra played well today, really played aggressively and got me on my heels a little bit,'' said Wozniacki, ranked 53 in the world after an injury-ravaged season.

Wozniacki's participation had been in doubt as injury prevented her from fulfilling the minimum number of Davis and Fed Cup appearances required in a four-year Olympic cycle to qualify for the Games.

But she made it to Rio, where she was Denmark's flagbearer in the opening ceremony.