Serena Williams overcomes 3-1 deficit for first-round win

LONDON -- Serena Williams was far from dominant at the start but more than good enough at the end.

Down 3-1 to a qualifier on the first day of Wimbledon, the top-ranked player was not about to drop the opening set as she did four times during her run to the French Open title. Williams knew she had to do something -- and fast.

"She came out so fast, I was like, 'Oh my God, if I don't start, I'm going to be down a set,'" Williams said. "And I was tired of being down a set."

So the five-time champion got to work, winning 11 of 13 games to beat 113th-ranked Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-4, 6-1 on Monday to extend her Grand Slam winning streak to 22 matches as she pursues a fourth straight major title.

Williams has won three straight major titles, including the Australian Open and French Open. If she wins the title at the All England Club and then defends her title at the US Open, she would be the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same season.

"There are a lot of expectations on her shoulders at the moment," said Patrick Mouratoglou, Williams' coach. "It took her maybe six games to get going. At 3-all, she started to relax and play. And then there was no match."

Despite the slow start against Gasparyan, Williams improved to 59-1 in career first-round matches in Grand Slam events.

"I knew she would be a good player," Williams said of Gasparyan, who was making her Wimbledon debut. "I can't say I thought she'd be that good, to be honest."

In the sixth game against the 113th-ranked qualifier, Williams slid on the grass and fell during a point. After the next point, a lineswoman trotted over to the chair umpire, who announced: "Code violation, audible obscenity, Miss Williams."

Williams glared at the lineswoman as she went back over to her position behind the baseline.

She finished with as many errors -- 19 -- as winners, but she broke four times and lost serve only once.

"It feels good so far," Williams said. "Just to be back at Wimbledon, I have so many good memories here."

Also reaching the second round was Serena's sister, Venus, also a five-time champion at Wimbledon. The 16th seed recorded a double-bagel, beating Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-0 in just over 40 minutes.

Venus, who could face Serena in the fourth round, had 29 winners, compared to just two for Brengle.

It was the first double bagel at the All England Club in six years -- No. 14 Andrea Petkovic added another later against Shelby Rogers of the U.S. -- and first for the elder Williams on a grass court since her first match on the surface, in 1997.

"I don't remember that match," she said. "I'm sure I enjoyed it."

Meanwhile, No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, had a trouble-free opener, sweeping past Johanna Konta of Britain 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round.

Sharapova has failed to reach the quarterfinals at the All England Club in seven of the past eight years.

Others advancing to the second round included No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, No. 11 Karolina Pliskova and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.

The highest-seeded player eliminated was No. 9 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who fell 6-2, 6-0 to Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia. Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan upset No. 24 Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.