Wimbledon 2021: Aryna Sabalenka eases into women’s second round on day one

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World-number-four Aryna Sabalenka dominated Monica Niculescu to reach round two at Wimbledon on the opening day of the 2021 Championships.

The Belarusian – number two seed in the women’s draw – took 29 minutes to seal set one and closed out a 6-1 6-4 win.

Niculescu – world number 191 – drew support from the Wimbledon crowd in the face of a relentless early onslaught.

But Sabalenka repeatedly punished the serve of her rival and saw off the threat of a second-set fight back.

In all, Romania’s Niculescu won just 39% of points on her first serve in what was the first match of the 2021 Championships, played under the roof of Court One as rain delayed action elsewhere.

She briefly showed belief when she recovered to 4-3 down in the second set but a 119mph ace from Sabalenka in the next game summed up the decisive power she showed from the off.

The 23-year-old, who has never progressed through round two at Wimbledon and is yet to taste success in a singles Grand Slam, will next face either American Danielle Lao or Britain’s Katie Boulter.

BBC

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