LONDON, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Five-time champion Venus Williams fought off tenacious challenge from debutante Elise Mertens of Belgium to win the first round match at Wimbledon here on Monday.
The 37-year-old Williams, who won here for the last time in 2008, took one hour and 40 minutes to win 7-6 (7), 6-4. The former world No. 1 will next play China's world No. 55 Wang Qiang.
The match was interrupted by rain when Williams led 5-3 in the second set. Mertens, 20, managed to hold her serve to put it 4-5 before Williams served for the victory.