London: World number one Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Angelique Kerber eased into the second round of Wimbledon on Tuesday. Unlike second seed Naomi Osaka on Monday, who exited in straight sets, both Barty and Kerber disposed of their opponents with relative ease. Barty beat China's Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-2 while Kerber, the fourth seed, beat fellow German Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-3.
It took Roger Federer four sets but he beat South African Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 while former champion Garbine Muguruza was knocked out in first round. Barty did not have it all her own way in the first set being pegged back to 4-4 after leading 3-0. Barty finally took the set in breaking Zheng on her serve at 5-4.
The Australian made the break on Zheng's first service game in the second set and was rarely troubled after that. "The first rond is always very tough and it took a little time to get used to the court," said Barty. "It definitely took some time to adjust."
Barty, who is bidding to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season, said the weight of being number one did not affect her particularly. "It is a bizarre feeling to be honest but I try and go about my business as usual," she said.
Barty plays tricky Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, who knocked out then defending champion Garbine Muguruza last year in the second round, for a place in the last 32. "It will be an exceptional challenge and it will be important for me to be strong on my serve," she said.
Kerber, who came into the tournament on the back of being the beaten finalist at Eastbourne last Saturday, looked to be cruising to victory when she broke Maria in the first game of the second set. However, her compatriot fought back to break her in the next game after a long tussle which saw Kerber get increasingly annoyed by her errors.
- Agence France Presse