World No 1 women tennis star, American Serena Williams, progressed through the first round of the Rio Olympics tennis yesterday despite an error-strewn performance that was not helped by 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.
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 were sent flying and umbrellas at food tables had to be lowered in case they overturned.