Venus Williams (above), a finalist last year and 5 time champion, won her first round match today at Wimbledon.

Venus Williams looked in fine form this morning in defeating Rossana De Los Rios of Parauguay, 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour and 4 minutes.  Williams out winnered De Los Rios by the amazing count of 31 to 4, but considering that this is her favorite tournament on her best surface, the result is no surprise.

Perhaps the biggest news on the women’ side, if also not the biggest surprise, was French Open champion Francesca Schiavone’s opening round loss to Vera Dushevina, 6-7 (7-0), 7-5, 6-1 in almost 3 hours.

Schiavone, like Federer, saw her seed higher than her world rank, presumably in deference to her French Open win, but the problems she has always had on grass persisted–namely her lack of power on serve.  Schiavone managed only 3 aces in 174 minutes and only won about 54 % percent of the points on her serve.

Fourth seeded Jelena Jankovic took out young Brit Laura Robson, the 16 year old already playing in her 3rd Wimbledon, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in 1 hour and 37 minutes.  Though Robson struggled mightily on 2nd serve, she played high risk, high reward tennis, and struck 45 minutes as opposed to only 20 unforced errors.  Robson represents the best hope for the British Isles on the female side in some time, and has much career ahead of her.

Young American 33rd seed melanie Oudin looked strong in her win over Anna-Lena Groenfeld, 6-3, 6-0.

American upstart Alison Riske of Pennsylvania, who made the semi-finals of her first ever pro level tour event, losing to Maria Sharapova two weeks ago, could not defeat Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer for a 2nd time this month, falling 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

American Varvara Lepchenko notched another major victory, winning her opening match 6-4, 7-5 over Lucie Hradecka.

Justine Henin, after a 2 year absence from SW-19, won in her return, 6-3, 6-4 over Anastasija Sevastova.  Wimbledon is the only major that Henin has not won.  Fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters, who missed Roland Garros due to injury, won easily over Italian, Maria Elena Camerin, 6-0, 6-3.

Nadia Petrova, who shocked Venus at Roland Garros, won her opener, 6-4, 6-3 over German Tatjana Malek.

Shahar Peer easily over fallen star Ana Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-4.

Unlikely French quarter-finalist Yaroslava Shvedova over Polona Hercog, 6-1, 6-4.

German Angelique Kerber over India’s Sania Mirza, 6-4, 6-1.

Ekaterina Makarova, fresh off her win at AEGON last week, over Agnes Szavay 6-4, 7-6 (2).

Australian Jarmila Groth, a surprising participant in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, won her first match, 6-4, 6-3 over Renata Voracova.

American Bethanie Mattek-Sands fell to 2004 quarter-finalist, Karolina Sprem, 6-3, 6-4.

American Shenay Perry found a way in an extended third set, defeating Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-2, 4-6, 9-7.

Other winners included Vera Zvonareva, Alona Bondarenko, Kristina Barrois, Marion Bartoli, Kristen Flipkens, Alicia Molik, Andrea Hlavackova, Petra Martic, Aleksandra Wozniak, Alya Kudravtseva, Yung-Jan Chen, Maria Kirilenko, Alisa Kleybanova, Greta Arn and Tsvetana Pironkova.

–Crack (