Top seed Iga Swiatek did not let a brief rain interruption dull her confidence as the four-time Grand Slam winner began her title quest 6-1, 6-3 over China’s Zhu Liu.

Play was halted briefly after only 50 minutes on court late in the second set before the roof over Court No. 1 was closed to allow the contest to finish.

“It was a really solid performance from me. I’m happy that I could just play my game and be in the rhythm, even though it was the first round,” Swiatek said.

“I actually haven’t got the experience of a match suspended, then coming back after just 15 minutes. 

“I wanted to see how it’s going to go. I’m happy it went well and I could close it.”

She added: “After winning Roland Garros (for a third time a month ago) I took time to appreciate what had happened.

“I was then able to get back to work with more peace in my head.

“I’m open-minded for the grass season.”

Fourth seed Jessica Pegula wasted three match points in the second set but managed to claw back victory in the third, defeating American compatriot Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-3.

The winner is playing her tenth consecutive Grand Slam as a seed but  has never escaped the third round here in three previous appearances.

“I felt good going into the third [set], even though I had match points in the second,” Pegula said.

“She’s a really tough player, she played some incredible points. She’s a really good grass-court player as well. 

“When she gets hot, it’s really tough. Her ball skids really low through the court.”

She added: “I kept my focus, didn’t get too frustrated, and was able to just pull it out,”

French fifth seed Caroline Garcia started off her 10th Wimbledon appearance 6-4, 6-3 over American Katie Volynels, her 58th match win at a major.

Elina Svitolina, a 2019 semi-finalist who reached third in the world, brought an end to the wild card appearance of five-time winner Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3.

London Wimbledon Championships Day 1 03//07/2023 Elina Svitolina (UKR) wins first round match Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

The Ukrainian who had a child last October with husband Gael Monfils held her nerve against the legend.

Williams took a sliding fall in the third game of the match and was taped after losing the first set.

The 43-year-old who claimed her last title here 15 years ago, was playing Wimbledon for the 24th time after making her debut as a teenager more than a quarter of a century ago.

Williams broke Svitolina in the penultimate game but lost serve and the match moments later on a successful Svitolina challenge of a return on the Williams baseline.

London Wimbledon Championships Day 1 03//07/2023 Venus Williams (USA) loses first round match playing with a well strapped knee after a fall
Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

The veteran exited to a standing ovation from the Centre Court crowd.

“It’s always a pleasure to play Venus,” the winner said of their fifth meeting.   :

“It was a special moment today, playing against a big legend. 

Grass takes a lot out of the legs and Venus plays quickly. I had to work hard for today’s win.”

Host Britain suffered a first loss of the Championships as wild card Harriet Dart went down 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-4 to France’s Diane Parry after two and a quarter hours.

Jody Burrage got a welcome home revenge 6-1, 6-3 over American Caty McNally.

2021 Roland Garros winner Barbora Stycova got back into the Grand Slam mix after pregnancy as she played her first major in three years, posting a 6-1, 7-5 defeat of Belgian Maryna Zanevska.

Double Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka still feels the nerves as she enters her 15th Wimbledon, but managed to keep them in check for a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over Chinese qualifier Yuan Yue.

“In Grand Slams, no doubt, there is another level of expectation, motivation, and desire,” the 33-year-old said.

“I’ve struggled the last few months. To be able to step by step try to find my rhythm, that’s why I’m happy with the win today. 

“It wasn’t pretty. It was tough. It was a battle out there… I’ve been missing that a little bit throughout the last couple months, so I’m glad that I went through that today.”

Main photo:- Wimbledon Championships 2023 Day 1 Iga Swiatek wins first round match by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd