SPORTS WIMBLEDON 2017

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS LEHOURITES LON­DON —

Just days af­ter be­ing sued in re­la­tion to a fa­tal car ac­ci­dent, an emo­tional Venus Wil­liams wins her open­ing-round match.

It was a mixed day for the Cana­di­ans on the open­ing day at Wimbledon while Venus Wil­liams won her first 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, on Mon­day in the first round at the Grand Slam ten­nis event, 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.

Mon­treal’s Françoise Abanda de­feated Ja­pan’s Ku­rumi Nara, 6-2, 6-4, and Eu­ge­nie Bouchard of West­mount, Que., dropped a 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 de­ci­sion to Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. Poland’s Jerzy Janow­icz de­feated wild-card en­try Denis Shapo­valov of Rich­mond Hill, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

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 eighth­seeded 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.

Venus Wil­liams of the United States re­turns to Bel­gium’s Elise Mertens dur­ing their round one Women’s Sin­gles Match on the open­ing day at Wimbledon.

TIM IRE­LAND, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Venus Wil­liams re­turns a shot dur­ing her win­ning match at Wimbledon, her first since she was in a mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent in which a man died.

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