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LONDON -- Five-time champion Venus Williams overcame a slow start to beat Japan's Kurumi Nara 7-6 (4), 6-1 on Wednesday to reach the third round of a major for only the second time in her last 10 Grand Slam tournaments.
The 30th-seeded American won six straight points in the tiebreaker and ran off six straight games in the second set to beat 41st-ranked Nara on Court 3 at the All England Club.
"In the tiebreaker that's when it comes down to who's going to be more consistent and more aggressive," Williams said. "In the beginning she was, but thankfully I was able to turn it around."
Next up for Williams is a third-round clash with 2011 champion Petra Kvitova, the Czech lefthander who downed Mona Barthel of Germany 6-2, 6-0.
"I think we both play similar games, really go for it," Williams said. "She's one of the kind of players who can get kind of hot against me."
Williams, winner of seven Grand Slam titles, lost in the first round in her last appearance at Wimbledon in 2012. The only other time she has made it past the second round in her last 10 Grand Slams was at the 2013 Australian Open. She hasn't reached the fourth round at a major since Wimbledon in 2011.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction," Williams said. "The thing that I just have to really work on is being on tour consistently and playing tournaments."
The 6-foot-1 Williams towered over Nara, the shortest player in the women's top 100 at 5-foot-1.
The American served seven aces and had 43 winners. Nara had only five unforced errors, but just 16 winners.
Nara took a medical timeout at the end of the first set and received treatment from the trainer on her upper left leg during the second set.
Williams was several minutes late in arriving on court, and also left the court after the warm-up. She looked sluggish at the start, falling behind 3-0. She then won five straight games, but was broken serving for the set at 5-4.
Nara raced to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but Williams won the rest of the points. Williams was broken in the opening game of the second set, then won the next six.
In other women's play, eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka was eliminated by Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion and former No. 1, was playing in just her second event since the Australian Open after being sidelined with a left foot injury.
Azarenka won more total points than Jovanovski (104 to 100) and had many more winners (48 to 27) but converted only three of 16 break points.
Also advancing to the third round was second-seeded Australian Open champion Li Na, who beat Yvonne Meusburger of Austria 6-2, 6-2 on Court 2. Meusburger had only four winners in the match. Li had 33 winners to go with 21 unforced errors.
"If you want to play more aggressive, this is the normal way," Li said.
Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland opened play on Centre Court and needed less than an hour to beat Australia's Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-0.
American Lauren Davis defeated 12th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (4) to advance to the third round, equaling her best performance of her 10 Grand Slam tournaments.
The Ohio-born Davis, 20, lost in the first round of all four Grand Slam tournaments last year before advancing to the third round of the Australian Open in January. Pennetta was a U.S. Open semifinalist last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.