Venus Williams crashes out of Wimbeldon

Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams lost in the first round at SW19 for only the second time as she slumped 6-1 6-3 to Russian Elena Vesnina.

Williams was not seeded this year as she attempts a comeback after being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome.

The American had shown some form of late but looked a shadow of her former self on Court No 2 as she crashed to the world number 79.

Williams last suffered defeat in the first round on her debut in 1997 and never got going against the Russian after losing the first five games.

She saved two set points before finally getting on the scoresheet by breaking her opponent, but Vesnina broke back immediately to take the set.

The 32-year-old put up more of a fight in the second but Vesnina crucially broke in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead and successfully served out for victory in an hour and 15 minutes.

The defeat again brought into question the possibility of Williams calling time on her distinguished career, but she is planning on returning once again next year.

“I’m planning on it,” she said. “I feel like I’m a great player. I am a great player. I’m up for challenges.

“There’s no way I’m just going to give up. That’s just not me. I’m tough, let me tell you, tough as nails. The only thing I can do is be positive.

“I love this sport. I feel I can play well and I’m not going to give up on that.”

Vesnina, who had lost in the first round of nine of her last 10 Grand Slam appearances, will face Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska for a place in the last 32.

Radwanska booked her place in the second round with a 6-3 6-3 win over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.

Reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur was an impressive winner of her first round match cruising past Spain’s 40th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3.

The Australian had suffered first round defeats on her last two Wimbledon appearances but there was not even the whiff of an upset as Stosur’s name became the first into the second round draw.

Former French Open champion and 11th seed Li Na also progressed with an emphatic 6-3 6-1 victory over Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan.

Li, knocked out in the second round by big-serving German Sabine Lisicki 12 months ago, set up a clash with Romania’s Sorana Cirstea while Lisicki was another early winner on Monday as she beat Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4 6-2.

Flavia Pennetta, seeded 16, was the biggest casualty as she suffered a 6-4 6-3 defeat to fellow Italian Camila Giorgi, who had to come through qualifying.