Serena Williams wins in first round

Updated: July 28, 2012, 2:48 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WIMBLEDON, England -- Serena Williams advanced to the second round at the Olympics on Saturday on the same Wimbledon court where she won her 14th Grand Slam title a few weeks ago.

[+] EnlargeSerena Williams
Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty ImagesSerena Williams returned to the Wimbledon court Saturday, where she won a singles title a few weeks ago, and advanced to the Olympics second round.

First Lady Michelle Obama watched from the front row of Williams' box as the fourth-seeded American beat former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-1 on Centre Court.

Williams met with Obama after the match.

"Before, I would have been too nervous," Williams said. "We talked about how I loved her dress. She's always looking good."

Williams looked good, too, picking up where she left off three weeks earlier, when she won her fifth Wimbledon title. She is aiming for her first gold medal in Olympic singles; she has won two gold medals in doubles with big sister Venus.

Fellow countrywoman Christina McHale earlier lost to Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 7-5.

McHale hit a backhand into the net on match point against the 11th-seeded Serb, who won the French Open in 2008. McHale, ranked 26th, played the first match of the tournament on Wimbledon's Court 18. At 20, she's the youngest member of the U.S. tennis team.

While the two Wimbledon champions -- Roger Federer played and also won -- fared well on the opening day of play, the grass at the All England Club took a troublesome toll. Areas along the baselines reseeded after Wimbledon deteriorated quickly, making the courts slick and causing players to slip and fall.

By the end of the first match on Centre Court, before Williams or Federer stepped onto it, skid marks and barren patches were visible at both ends.

"The grass is a wee bit slippery, but you've just got to deal with it," Williams said. "Get ready to slip and slide, whatever it takes. The area at the net didn't wear out so much. Maybe a lot of the players will start coming to the net."

That would be a change, but then much is different about this particular tournament at Wimbledon. The club was more colorful, thanks to purple backdrops and a waiver of the rule requiring players to wear mostly white. Federer donned a red shirt, Williams went with a blue dress and Falla opted for yellow.

The atmosphere was also more festive, beginning with a morning concert by the Pet Shop Boys on the picnic hill overlooking the grounds. The Centre Court crowd did the wave during changeovers and was more inclined to hoot and holler.

"Wimbledon is so quiet. You know, you don't hear much talking," Williams said. "But here you do hear talking. This atmosphere I didn't expect. It's bananas, and I love it."

Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters won her Olympic debut by beating Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-1, 6-4. Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic also advanced.

As was the case during Wimbledon, Williams won with a dominating serve. She hit eight aces against Jankovic, lost only 10 service points and faced no break points.

The winner of 14 major titles and two gold medals in Olympic doubles, Williams said the incentive to win the singles is different from a Grand Slam event.

"Let's face it, tennis players play to win Wimbledon," she said. "We play to win Australia. We play to win the U.S. Open. The Olympics is a bonus. So sometimes you get the bonus; sometimes you don't."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.