Tennis: Serena goes through to Wimbledon second round

Williams celebrates beating Italia's Giulia Gatto-Monticone.
Williams celebrates beating Italia's Giulia Gatto-Monticone.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams moved into the second round on Tuesday (July 2) with a hard-fought 6-2, 7-5 win over Italian qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone.

The 37-year-old American, who if she wins Wimbledon will share the record with Margaret Court of 24 Grand Slam titles, eased through the first set.

However, she had a far tougher battle in the second set against the Italian, who was making her Wimbledon debut, and who broke Williams' serve when the American served for the match at 5-3.

Williams spent a lot of the time chastising herself but eventually closed out the match breaking Gatto-Monticone's serve.

Williams, whose sister Venus crashed out on Monday losing to teenage sensation Cori Gauff, said despite her laboured performance the knee injury that has affected her season had not given her any trouble.

"It is the best I have felt since February," she said.

"I pretty much had to skip the hard court season and missed a couple of clay tournaments.

"I am better now, I feel happy now that I get to play with my baby."