Serena Williams scores first round win at Wimbledon

Serena Williams wants to find a balance between being a mother and trying to secure an eighth Wimbledon crown.

The 36-year-old enjoyed a winning return to the All England Club by beating Dutch opponent Arantxa Rus 7-5 6-3 in the first round.

She missed the 2017 tournament as she was pregnant with her daughter Olympia and this year’s version is just the fourth event she has played since giving birth last September – and only the second outside the US.

Her first was at the French Open last month, where Williams had to pull out ahead of the fourth round with an arm injury, having suffered it as a result of playing singles and doubles in Paris.

That heavy schedule also meant she spent less time with Olympia, which she found tough.

“It’s hard. I realised at Roland Garros if the days were long, like I was playing singles and doubles there, that was hard because I felt guilty,” Williams admitted.

“I was like ‘I haven’t seen Olympia, what am I doing?’.

“If it’s the shorter days, now that I’m not playing doubles in this event, I have the day off, I think that will help.”

Williams plays a return during her first round match. (AAP) 

US Open champion Sloane Stephens refused to blame her preparation for her first-round exit.

The American was dumped out by Croatian Donna Vekic 6-1 6-3 in what was her first match since the French Open final last month – the highest casualty of the opening day.

“I thought preparation was good,” she said.

“I did more than I would normally do. I came in here feeling not too bad.”

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina was a late-night casualty as she went down to Tatjana Maria.

Wozniacki during her opening round straight sets win. (AAP)

The Ukrainian would have been hoping to make a real challenge for her maiden grand slam, but lost 7-6 (7/3) 4-6 6-1.

Caroline Wozniacki safely navigated her way past Varvara Lepchenko, winning 6-0 6-3, just 48 hours after claiming the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne.

Five-time champion Venus Williams overcame a scare to beat Swede Johanna Larsson.

Williams came back from a set down to win 6-7 (3/7) 6-2 6-1.

Karolina Pliskova also had a battle on her hands to get past British hopeful Harriet Dart in three sets.

Coco Vandeweghe lost her battle with Katerina Siniakova, who won 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 8-6.

The American, seeded 16th, was hampered by an injury sustained in the first set but fought on bravely.

She eventually went down in a three-set epic that lasted three hours and four minutes.

Agnieszka Radwanska, a finalist in 2012, survived by the skin of her teeth to beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

The Pole saved six match points to win 6-3 4-6 7-5 and scrape through to the second round.

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.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka came through in straight sets against Ekaterina Alexandrova while 2015 quarter-finalist Madison Keys eased past Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-2 in 63 minutes.

There were also wins for Lucie Safarova, Kristina Mladenovic and Barbora Strycova.

©PAA2018

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