Former US Open champion Sam Stosur and America’s Sloane Stephens were among the early surprises of the 2014 Wimbledon championship, as both seeds were knocked out on the opening day of action.
Australian Stosur, seeded 17th, fell 6-3, 6-4 to unseeded Belgian Yanina Wickmayer while Stephens, seeded 18th, lost 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) to Russian Maria Kirilenko.
But two-time semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka won her first match since returning from three months layoff.
Belarusian Azarenka overcame Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 7-5.
“Getting my game together again, and the timing, is a long process. But the important thing is that I’m there 100 percent. My focus is there,” said Azarenka. “My desire and concentration is there. That’s all I can ask for in myself.”
Lucic Baroni, 32, brought back the same elegance which saw her reach the last-four in 1999 as a 17-year-old in the second set against her eighth seed opponent, who dominated the first set.
She had set points on both her own serve and the Azarenka serve but was unable to convert and Azarenka sealed the win when Lucic-Baroni’s forehand went long.
Azarenka also showed off her fingernails, which were couloured light blue in honour of the Argentina national team.
She adds: “I love Messi, I think he’s one of the greatest players of all time. He’s so little, so cute.”
Stephens had to save five match points in the 12th game of the second set against Kirilenko and had two set points in the tie-break but her opponent, who reached the quarter-finals in 2012, kept composure to secure a second-round meeting with China’s Peng Shuai, who bea Britain’s Johanna Konta n three sets.
Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova also progressed to the next round after needing a decider to beat 43-year-old Kimiko Dante-Krumm of Japan 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Venus Williams has seen off Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-4 4-6 6-3.
Li Na beat Paula Kania 7-5 6-1.