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Venus, Serena Williams Open Olympics With Easy Wins

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena Williams, started their path toward Olympic gold with pedestrian victories in their opening matches, generating chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A” from fans.

Twenty minutes separated the victories by the American sisters. Venus Williams took care of Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-1 in a match during which she hardly was threatened.

At the other end of the All  England Club, Serena Williams disposed of Poland’s Urzula Radwanska, 6-2, 6-3.

A schedule backlog transformed the Olympics at Wimbledon into a parade of Grand Slam champions Monday, with the Williams sisters and Roger Federerall playing at the same time.

And all won, Federer reaching the third round, beating Julien Benneteau of France, 6-2, 6-2.

“I just wanted to play well for my country,” Venus Williams said. “It was just great to be out there.”

She waited an extra day because of rain to begin her bid for a record fourth gold medal.

Venus Williams, who is unseeded, drew a tough first-round foe in Errani, who has won four titles this year and is ranked a career-high No. 9. Williams served well, charged the net aggressively and appeared at ease on the Wimbledon grass, where she has won five of her seven Grand Slam titles.

“I’ve been working really hard on my serve,” she said. “I really haven’t had my serve where I wanted it this year. But I definitely worked a lot on it, so that way it would be a real weapon for me, which is what I’m used to.”

Despite being diagnosed last year with an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue, she began 2012 determined to make the Olympic team. She won the gold in singles at the 2000 Games and teamed with Serena to take the gold in doubles in 2000 and 2008.

Because her opening match was delayed a day by rain, Williams will have to play six consecutive days if she reaches Saturday’s final.

“I definitely expect everything to be tough on me almost nowadays,” Williams said.

Over on Court 1, Serena’s serve lacked its usual sizzle, and she was even broken once, but she still eliminated Radwanska with little drama.  She will next play Vera Zvonareva of Russia, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2010.

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