Venus Williams lunges while making a return during her third-round victory… (Eddie Keogh / Reuters )
Reporting from Wimbledon, England — It took Venus Williams nearly three hours to beat 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round.
It took Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion, only 61 minutes to take out dangerous Spanish player Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-0, 6-2 Friday.
The win advanced Williams into the fourth round where she will get a second Wimbledon chance against Tsvetana Pironkova.
Pironkova, seeded 32nd, upset second-seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-3 Friday. A year ago Pironkova, on her way to the semifinals, beat Williams 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
After her win over Sanchez, Williams had a big smile and said she had a good vibe about this event. "I feel good," she said. "Last year here I wasn't on my best game. This year I look forward to playing a little bit better than I did last year."
Williams, 31 and seeded 23rd, missed 5-1/2 months after suffering an abdominal injury at the Australian Open and came out to Court 1 for her third-round match against the Spaniard with her left thigh wrapped. That wrapping was an accessory missing in her first two matches.
And there were two times in the second set of her win where she seemed to grimace and clutch at the wrapped area, but Williams said she was fine.
There was some early excitement when 17-year-old Laura Robson of Great Britain rushed to a 3-0 first-set lead over fifth-seeded and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova but the 24-year-old Russian finally calmed down her nervous serve and moved into the third round with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win.
"I felt like I started off really slow," Sharapova said. "And she started out really well, quite the opposite of me. I think she was much more aggressive than I was in the beginning."
Sharapova said the match changed when she began playing more aggressively. "I think I was playing too much defense at first," Sharapova said.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki hasn't lost a set and only lost seven games in her two matches. She beat dangerous French veteran Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-3 on Court 2, where Serena Williams had expressed displeasure at being stuck on Thursday.
Wozniacki wasn't excited about her experience either.
"Obviously I think I deserve to play on one of the bigger courts," Wozniacki said. "It's up to the tournament to decide where we're going to play. I just go out there and try to win."
Also knocked out was former French Open and U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 12th seed, who lost to 19th-seeded Yanina Wickmayer 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Wickmayer had been a U.S. Open semifinalist in 2009. And 89th-ranked Ksenia Pervak of Russia upset 11th-seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (2). Petkovic has gained a following for doing an on-court dance after every win. There was no dancing Friday.