All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain -July 4, 2018 Serena Williams on her way to victory over Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain -July 4, 2018 Serena Williams on her way to victory over Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

Seven-times champion Serena Williams moved up a gear at Wimbledon to beat Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova 6-1 6-4 on Wednesday and reach the third round.

The 36-year-old American barely broke sweat in a one- sided first set but was tested by the world No135 in the second without ever looking troubled.

While the Centre Court crowd clearly appreciated the sight of 25th seed Williams in full flow they took a shine to the plucky Tomova who battled hard to make a match of it.

Even ultimate warrior Williams applauded a couple of her opponent’s winners late in the second set before completing victory in 66 minutes.

"It was better than my first round and I’m happy that I’m going in the right direction," Williams, who took her winning streak at Wimbledon to 16 matches, said on court.

Sister Venus overcame a slow start to defeat Romanian qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru 4-6 6-0 6-1 for her 89th match victory at Wimbledon.

"She played well the first set. I don’t know if I’ve ever played her before which is tough," said five-times winner Williams.

Williams praised Wimbledon chiefs after the tournament’s much-maligned schedule-makers finally gave female stars top billing on Wednesday.

For the first time in 25 years, there were more women’s matches than men’s on Wimbledon’s six show courts in a single day of play.

There were 11 women’s ties scheduled compared to 10 for men as Venus and Serena, with world No2 Caroline Wozniacki and former US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, were given the spotlight.

On Centre Court and Court One two women’s singles matches entertained the sell-out crowd in each arena, alongside only one men’s match in each.

"I was really overjoyed when I saw the schedule for today," Venus said.

Wozniacki suffered a shock 6-4 1-6 7-5 defeat against Ekaterina Makarova.

Wozniacki saved five match points but has now failed to get past the last 16 in 12 visits to the All England Club.

It was a bitter defeat for the 27-year-old Dane, who was expected to challenge for the title after winning her maiden Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open in January.

Karolina Pliskova proved too strong for Victoria Azarenka in the battle of former world No1s, prevailing 6-3 6-3 to enter the third round at Wimbledon for the first time in her career.

The Czech world No8 had lost in the second round at the All England Club for five straight years since 2013.

Roger Federer’s quest for a ninth Wimbledon crown gained momentum with a flawless 6-4 6-4 6-1 win over Slovakian world No73 Lukas Lacko.

The Swiss defending champion has now won 26 consecutive sets at the All England Club.

"I felt good, less nervous than in the first round," Federer said.

"Lacko can play well on the grass, he’s won his fair share of matches. Not wasting too much energy in the first matches is nice to have. From my end I’m very happy."

Milos Raonic, seeded 13th, was made to work hard against Australia’s John Millman before prevailing 7-6(4) 7-6(4) 7-6(4) on Court Two.

The giant Canadian cranked up the fastest serve of the tournament on Wednesday with a 236.5km/h howitzer.

Reuters, AFP

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