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Federer, Serena breeze through Wimbledon furnace

Federer, Serena breeze through Wimbledon furnace

Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands returns a shot to Serena Williams of the U.S. during the Women's Singles first round match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday July 2, 2018.

But at the same tournament where he played what proved to be his last match of 2017, the 33-year-old was rejuvenated.

Sloane Stephens fared less well as the French Open finalist became an early casualty, while Victoria Azarenka came away with a sore knee after a nasty slip in her win against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

As she returns to tennis following the birth of her daughter, she is priced up at second favourite to win this year's Wimbledon title despite being ranked just 183rd in the world, a testament to her astonishing ability.

And there will be mixed emotions in the Pliskova family after Karolina progressed but twin sister Kristyna did not.

Rus played her part in a competitive first-round clash with some sweet forehands down the line, however Williams would not be denied as she powered to a 7-5 6-3 victory.

Also getting their campaigns under way on Monday are five-time women's champion Venus Williams against Johanna Larsson.

"[Maybe] if I keep winning!"

As she has done time and time again, Williams got over those blips with the minimum of fuss.

She even referred to herself in the third person.

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"It would be impossible for me to not feel some kind of way about that", said Williams, 36. I just wasn't quite used to that level of wind. Still, I'm debating if I should go 120 (mph) or whatever.

"I think coming up, the US Open, very special moment for an American to win a US Open". "I also think it's healthy, in a way, for me to do what I need to do, be that working mom, then go back home and be the mom". I feel like equality, that's all I've been preaching, it's all about equality. First go around sometimes isn't that great.

Williams saw five match points slip by as Rus began swinging with freedom, but it was sixth time lucky for the former number one as her opponent found the net.

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki, who has never got to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, built on her Eastbourne title at the weekend with a 59-minute, 6-0, 6-3 win over Varvara Lepchenko.

And the Dane hopes her recent success can continue to inspire her at the All England Club.

"I'm just playing until Roger stops. I thought, "Hey, I have this awesome child, I have all these Grand Slams, this is all super bonus", and it is".

Magdalena Rybarikova was the first seed to lose as she was beaten 7-5 6-3 by Sorana Cirstea while 22nd seed Anastasija Sevastova was ousted 6-1 2-6 6-4 by Camila Giorgi.

But the realities of sustaining a tennis career means she will not be splashing the cash in a hurry. "Why not? After everything she's done, it would have been the flawless excuse and exit to say, 'I've had it", said Federer, the father of two sets of twins. "Week-to-week I have my travel, my flights, my food, my accommodation".

"They know that there is a trophy involved at some point if I do play well, because they get most excited about the trophies".