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Williams wins Wimbledon opener after lawsuit

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Venus Williams looked on during today’s match at Wimbledon.

LONDON >> Venus Williams won her first tennis match since being sued by the estate of a Florida man who died after a car crash police say she caused.

The 10th-seeded Williams beat Elise Mertens 7-6 (7), 6-4 today in the first round at Wimbledon, a tournament the American has won five times.

Last week, Williams was sued by the estate of a Florida man who died 13 days after a car crash. The lawsuit came one day after Palm Beach Gardens police released a report saying Williams caused the June 9 crash.

“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and … yeah. I’m completely speechless,” Williams said before tearing up.

On No. 1 Court, Williams had to wait through a 33-minute rain delay to win her opening match. She had two match points before the rain came. Play was stopped with Williams leading 5-3, 40-40 in the second set.

When play resumed, Mertens held serve to make it 5-4, but Williams served out the match.

Defending champion Andy Murray also won his opening match, beating Alexander Bublik 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Murray entered the tournament after pulling out of a pair of exhibition matches because of a sore hip.

“I was a bit nervous this morning,” Murray said. “I hadn’t been able to do as much as I would have liked in the buildup.”

Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion who was injured in a knife attack at her home in December, then beat Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-3, 6-4 on Centre Court while Rafael Nadal defeated John Millman of Australia 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.

Second-seeded Simona Halep and No. 17 Madison Keys also won. Halep, who lost in the French Open final, beat Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-4, 6-1. Keys defeated Nao Hibino of Japan 6-4, 6-2.

Keys, who is right-handed, was playing for the first time since having a second surgery on her left wrist.

“It’s obviously not perfect,” Keys said. “I haven’t been able to do the repetitions that ideally I would have wanted to do, but it feels fine. Doesn’t hurt anymore. That’s really all I care about.”

Fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina and eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova also advanced.

In the men’s draw, Nick Kyrgios retired from his first-round match after losing the first two sets.

The 20th-seeded Australian was trailing Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-3, 6-4 when he called for a trainer to work on his left hip. He then decided to stop the match.

Kyrgios also retired with an injury from his first-round match at Queen’s, a Wimbledon warm-up tournament.

“I kind of knew I was in trouble. I have been feeling my hip ever since I fell over at Queen’s. Never got it right,” Kyrgios said. “I was doing everything I could to help it, but just not enough time.”

Two-time semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also reached the second round. The 12th-seeded Frenchman beat Cameron Norrie of Britain 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Fifth-seeded Maric Cilic, ninth-seeded Kei Nishikori and 24th-seeded Sam Querrey also advanced.

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