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Ashleigh Barty’s bid to win Wimbledon, half a century after fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her first singles title, got off to a winning start while Venus Williams marked her record 90th Grand Slam appearance with a three-set victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania on Tuesday.
Top seed Barty scored a 6-1, 6-7 (1/7), 6-1 victory over Carla Suarez Navarro, showing little sign of the hip injury that forced her to retire from the French Open
The 25-year-old has never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon but two breaks of serve in the first set and then one at 4-4 in the second seemed to have set her up with a routine victory. However, with errors creeping into Barty’s game Spaniard Suarez Navarro broke back and the set went into a tie-break.
Suarez Navarro – who has only returned to play in recent months after battling cancer – dominated it and held five set points taking it with the first one 7-6 (7/1). Barty, though, pulled herself together and played more like the world number one she is in the deciding set.
The 41-year-old Venus Williams, who is a five-time champion at the All England Club, triumphed 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
The American first played Wimbledon in…