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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Smiling Sharapova Skips Into Round 2

APDefending champion Maria Sharapova returning the ball to Spaniard Nuria Vives during first-round action on Tuesday.
WIMBLEDON, England -- With glittery new shoes and flashy shotmaking, Maria Sharapova opened her bid for a second successive Wimbledon title by beating Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Sharapova displayed her familiar grass-court flair and unveiled shoes trimmed with 18-karat gold.

"I just need some wings, and I feel like I can fly," she said. "They're great shoes. I've been getting a lot of compliments."

Her game warranted acclaim, too. She hit six aces, erased the only break point she faced and belted winners into both corners from the baseline.

Second-seeded Andy Roddick also won easily, beating Jiri Vanek 6-1, 7-6, 6-2. Roddick, the runner-up to Roger Federer last year, hit 14 aces and advanced in 82 minutes.

Two-time champion Venus Williams won five consecutive games during one stretch and beat lucky loser Eva Birnerova 6-2, 6-4.

On a sunny afternoon, with temperatures in the upper 20s Celsius, Sharapova played the first match on Centre Court and walked onto the lawn with a smile.

"It's so amazing," she said. "I usually don't smile when I go out on the court. But the people are clapping, and I was taking it all in, and I remember last year. This was where magic happened, so it was really, really good to feel that again."

Sharapova was done in 58 minutes. She raced to a 3-0 lead in each set and won five consecutive games during one stretch.

Last year, at 17, she became the third-youngest singles champion -- male or female -- in the tournament's 118-year history.

Roddick faced just one break point against Vanek and totaled 32 winners to just 12 unforced errors. It was Vanek's 11th consecutive first-round exit in a major tournament.

The only drama in the match came in the tiebreaker, when a scrambling exchange sent Vanek racing forward. As he tried to brake, he dumped his shot into the net, then went tumbling over it, landing on his back on Roddick's side of the court.

Roddick also won the next point to take the set.

In other men's play, No. 20 Ivan Ljubicic lost to Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. No. 15 Guillermo Coria, last year's French Open runner-up, matched his best showing at Wimbledon by reaching the second round when he beat Tomas Behrend 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

Scottish 18-year-old Andrew Murray, the latest candidate for a British breakthrough at Wimbledon, beat qualifier George Bastl 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Murray, a wild card and the U.S. Open juniors champion last year, won in his Grand Slam debut.

"I wasn't really expecting to win -- he's much better than me," Murray said. "I still haven't really done anything. Everybody is making it out as if I've won Wimbledon, and I think it's a little bit over the top."

Bastl was playing at Wimbledon for the first time since 2002, when he upset seven-time champion Pete Sampras. That match was Sampras' last at Wimbledon.

Also on Tuesday, Briton Tim Henman dug deep into his vast reserves of Wimbledon experience, coming to his senses in the nick of time to beat Finn Jarkko Nieminen 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2, and avoid a shattering first-round exit.

"I was struggling with my form the whole match, that was the picture really," Henman said.

But Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne became the tournament's first big-name casualty as she succumbed to Greece's Eleni Daniilidou 7-6, 2-6, 7-5.

(AP, Reuters, MT)