Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to a record 36th match with a straight-set victory over qualifier Jana Fett in the Wimbledon first round.
The world number one, who overtook Venus Williams’ record for the longest streak by a women’s player in the 21st century, beat the Croat 6-0 6-3.
Swiatek, in her first match since her French Open win, was not at her best in blustery conditions on Centre Court.
“I’m just figuring out how to play,” the 21-year-old Pole said.
It was Swiatek’s first match on grass this season after she opted not to play any warm-up events before Wimbledon.
“I knew it was going to be tricky. I am pretty happy I came back and did it in two sets,” she said in her on-court interview.
“I feel I have only played 12 weeks of my life on grass but the whole atmosphere and tradition is pumping me up and just looking forward to the next matches.”
Swiatek comes through second-set test
Swiatek had been picked to open proceedings on Centre Court on Tuesday – an honour given to the reigning women’s champion but handed to the Pole because Australian Ashleigh Barty retired earlier this year.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has dominated the WTA Tour this year and is aiming to win her seventh tournament in a row.
She faced little resistance in the opening set from Fett, who seemed to be struggling with her ball toss and double faults.
But it was then Swiatek’s turn to rack up the service errors and she came close to going a double break down in the second set, having to save five break points to hold for 2-3.
That hold proved pivotal as Swiatek won the next four games, claiming victory when Fett netted to send her into a second-round encounter with Dutch world number 138 Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.
Halep, Sakkari and Ostapenko advance
Meanwhile, 2019 champion Simona Halep – making her first appearance at Wimbledon since that tournament – came through what looked a tricky first rounder, beating Karolina Muchova 6-3 6-2. The 16th seed plays Kirsten Flipkens next.
Fresh from her win at Eastbourne, two-time champion Petra Kvitova came from a set and a break down to beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 2-6 6-4 6-2.
Spain’s fourth seed Paula Badosa needed only 56 minutes to reach round two by beating American Louisa Chirico 6-2 6-1.
Greek fifth seed Maria Sakkari comfortably progressed with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Australian qualifier Zoe Hives. She will face Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova in the next round.
American 18-year-old Coco Gauff, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open earlier this month, had to come from behind in a 2-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse.
The 11th seed had Ruse under pressure late in the third set, eventually converting the fifth break point of the 11th game to edge ahead before serving out the win to set up a second-round match against another Romanian, Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Latvian 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko also advanced by beating Oceane Dodin.
The 2017 French Open champion, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2018, secured a 6-4 6-4 win over France’s Dodin.