Djokovic through, Venus crashes out


LONDON, England, June 25- Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon second round on Monday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Djokovic, playing for the first time since his French Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal, will face either America’s Ryan Harrison or Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan for a place in the last 32.

The world number one had seen his hopes of becoming just the third man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once shattered by his defeat at the hands of Nadal in Paris.

The 25-year-old, playing in a 31st successive Grand Slam tournament, opted to nurse his wounds by holidaying in Scotland rather than playing a grass court warm-up event.

And he looked rusty early on Monday as he opened proceedings on Centre Court, dropping serve to trail the 32-year-old Ferrero, a former world number one and ex-French Open champion, 2-1.

But the Serb broke back immediately for 2-2 and went to 5-3 when Ferrero hit a forehand long.

An ace gave Djokovic the first set 6-3 before he dominated the second set by the same score as Ferrero, a quarter-finalist in 2007 and 2009, wilted.

Another break in the second game of the third set allowed the Serb to put the Spaniard further onto the defensive and he edged closer to victory with another break to lead 4-0.

Ferrero stopped the rot at 5-1, but another ace gace Djokovic the match in the next game after just 98 minutes on court.

Venus suffers 15-year Wimbledon low

Five-time champion Venus Williams suffered her worst Wimbledon defeat in 15 years on Monday, slumping to a first round exit at the hands of Russia’s Elena Vesnina.

Williams lost 6-1, 6-3 to the 79th-ranked Russian in what was the 32-year-old’s first opening round loss at the All England Club since her 1997 bow.

Defeat for the American star, unseeded for the first time since that debut year, will also cast further doubts over her future in the sport.

She arrived at Wimbledon desperately short of fitness and confidence with a world ranking down at 58 following a six-month absence from the tour suffering from Sjogern’s Syndrome, which causes joint pain and fatigue.

Monday’s defeat was just her fourth loss at the first round stage of a Grand Slam against 52 wins and it also followed a dispiriting second round exit at the French Open.

Williams, the 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 Wimbledon champion, was beaten in the quarter-finals in 2010 and fourth round in 2011, both times falling to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in straight sets.

Vesnina, who had lost in the first round of nine of her last 10 Grand Slam apperances, will face Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the last 32.