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01.08.2018 10:57
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Wimbledon, England (SportsNetwork. Martinas Rankin Jersey .com) - Australian Open champion Li Na, former Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and former world No. 1s Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams posted first-round victories on opening day at The Championships, Wimbledon. The second-seeded Li bested Polands Paula Kania, making her WTA-level debut, 7-5, 6-2 on the famed Centre Court, while the sixth-seeded 2011 Wimbledon winner Kvitova cruised past fellow Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-3, 6-0, and the eighth-seeded Azarenka handled 32-year-old Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 7-5 on No. 1 Court at the venerable All England Club. The 32-year-old Li has reached at least the semifinals at all of the majors except for Wimbledon, where shes a three-time quarterfinalist, including last year. Her second-round opponent will be Austrian Yvonne Meusburger. The left-handed Kvitova has reached at least the quarterfinals here four straight years and will meet German Mona Barthel on Wednesday. Azarenka fought to get past the 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist Lucic-Baroni, winning on her fifth match point. The Belarusian struggled with her serve, with eight double faults, but made the most of her opponents 29 unforced errors. The two-time Australian Open champion just returned to tour action last week after being sidelined with a foot injury for three months. Monday marked her first match win since the fourth round at the Aussie Open in January. Azarenka reached back-to-back Wimbledon semifinals before pulling out of her second-round match here a year ago because of an injury. Next up for the Belarusian star will be Serbian Bojana Jovanovski. The 30th-seeded Williams picked up her first Wimbledon win in three years with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor. The 34-year-old Williams owns seven major tiles, including five Wimbledon crowns, and shes now 72-11 lifetime at Wimbledon. Her second-round opponent will be Japans Kurumi Nara. Tenth-seeded Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova, of Slovakia, whipped Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-2 on Centre Court; 12th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta drubbed Slovak Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-3; oft-injured former U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer, who has been working with fellow Belgian and former world No. 1 star Kim Clijsters, dropped 17th-seeded former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-4; and Russian Maria Kirilenko doused 18th-seeded American Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). Stosur struggles mightily on grass, having suffered six first-round exits in 12 trips to the All England Club and never advanced beyond the third round here. Stephens saved five match points against Kirilenko before play went to a second-set tiebreak. Stephens had reached at least the fourth round at the last six Grand Slam events, including a run into the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year. Stephens is still a solid 31-13 at the majors, but a pedestrian 55-54 everywhere else. In other action involving seeds, No. 22 Russian Ekaterina Makarova overcame 43-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; No. 23 Czech Lucie Safarova edged out German Julia Goerges 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3); hot American Coco Vandeweghe converted on her 13th match point in taking out No. 27 Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; and No. 32 Russian Elena Vesnina took care of Austrias Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 6-0, 6-4. Vandeweghe corralled her first-ever WTA title, on grass, in The Netherlands just two days ago. Muguruza shocked Serena Williams in the second round at the French Open last month. Several other women advanced, including Meusburger, Jovanovski, Barthel, Nara, Aussie Casey Dellacqua, and American Lauren Davis. Rain forced the suspension of some action, as fourth-seeded 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska was leading Andreea Mitu 4-2; 14th-seeded former French Open runner-up Sara Errani was tied with Frances Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-7 (3-7); 16th-seeded former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was ahead of Israeli Shahar Peer 6-3, 2-0; and Portuguese Michelle Larcher de Brito was leading 28th-seeded two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-1 when rain started to fall just after 8 p.m. local time. The current world No. 1 Serena will open her fortnight Tuesday against Georgian Anna Tatishvili. The American great is a 17-time major champion, including five Wimbledon championships, just like her older sister, Venus. Meanwhile, third-seeded French Open runner-up Simona Halep will face Brazils Teliana Pereira and fifth-seeded Roland Garros champion Maria Sharapova will take on Brit Samantha Murray. Sharapova captured her lone Wimbledon title by upsetting Serena in the final here 10 years ago. Also on Tuesdays schedule will be seventh-seeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, 11th-seeded former top-ranked star Ana Ivanovic, 13th-seeded two- time 2014 Grand Slam semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard, and 19th-seeded Sabine Lisicki, who was last years Wimbledon runner-up to since-retired Marion Bartoli. Aaron Colvin Jersey . The Raptors general manager has his list of possible draft selections whittled down to a handful ahead of Thursday nights NBA draft in Brooklyn, New York. The Raptors, who have auditioned dozens of players over the past couple of weeks, have the 20th overall pick in the first round, as well as the 37th and 58th picks in the second. Aaron Colvin Texans Jersey . THE THUNDER & PACERS BENCHES: In a nutshell, not impressive at all. . The team announced the defensive coordinator will not be offered a contract extension.( - The Chicago Bulls are the hottest team in the Eastern Conference at the moment with a season-high six straight wins and will pay a visit to the Indiana Pacers Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Bulls have won nine of their last 10 games and posted a 107-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, as Jimmy Butler scored 33 points and Derrick Rose added 19. Aaron Brooks and Taj Gibson scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, with Gibson adding 10 rebounds. We got a lot of easy baskets. As a team, we rebounded the ball well and we got into the open court, Butler said. We got a lot of layups. When were playing like that were really hard to beat. Butler is averaging 26.3 ppg in his last six games. Chicago shot 46.1 percent and scored 23 points off 15 New Orleans turnovers. During the winning streak, the Bulls have won by an average score of 109.0 to 99.7. They are seventh in the NBA with 103.5 ppg and have lived up to the defensive reputation with an opponents scoring average of 98.7 ppg. The Bulls, who have scored 100 or more points 13 times in the last 16 games, have been dominant on the road with a 13-4 record and the 13 away wins are tied with Golden State for the most in the NBA. Chicago is 14-4 against teams from the East and 16-5 when reaching the 100- point mark. It will begin a five-game homestand Tuesday versus Brooklyn. The Pacers have won three of their last four games, and will play two straight at home versus Chicago and Miami. Keke Coutee Jersey. They are 6-8 in Indy. Indiana is coming off Saturdays 110-85 victory over the Nets and was led by Rodney Stuckeys 20 points and season-high eight assists. David West and C.J. Watson scored 17 points apiece for the Pacers, who made 51.2 percent from the field and 9-of-18 3-pointers. Were making shots and were playing for each other, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. Were playing unselfish and hopefully that continues. Vogels team scored 60 points in the second half and had 33 assists. West has been playing well lately with an average of 13.6 ppg in his last nine games. It has helped the Pacers shoot 50 percent or better in each of the previous four games after failing to hit the mark over the first 27. Indiana, which is 6-9 versus the East, is scoring 94.7 ppg, which is 26th in the NBA. However, it is third in opponents scoring at 96.5 ppg. The Pacers defeated the Bulls, 99-90, on Nov. 15 at the United Center thanks to 21 points from Luis Scola, Solomon Hill and A.J. Price. Butler scored 32 points in that one for Chicago, which is winless in the last four trips to Indiana. Chicago leads the overall series 89-80 with the Pacers, but Indiana holds a 56-29 advantage at home. The Bulls are 6-22 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 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