Wimbledon 2017: Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep reach round two
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is through to the second round after beating Johanna Larsson 6-3 6-4.
The 27-year-old Czech, playing only her third tournament since she was stabbed by an intruder at her home in December, started nervously and trailed early on.
She recovered to take the first set and was a break up in the second before Sweden's Larsson once again hit back.
However, 11th seed Kvitova broke again in the ninth game and saw out the win with an ace on her second match point.
"It was amazing to step out on Centre Court again," Kvitova told BBC Sport. "It was amazing to be back here and playing on this beautiful court - my favourite court.
"It was my motivation to come back and play at Wimbledon and I'm happy that my dream came true."
Kvitova suffered career-threatening injuries to her left hand in December's attack, but recovered quicker than expected to play at the French Open, where she lost to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in round two.
She capped her remarkable comeback by winning the Aegon Classic in Birmingham last month but then pulled out of Eastbourne with an abdominal injury.
"I'm still missing matches," she said. "It's practice that you can't get through training alone. You just need to play as many matches as you can.
"I was tight and nervous today and started badly with my serve, so need to improve that and my ground strokes. I hope with more matches, I will be better and better."
Kvitova's nerves were evident as Larsson, 28, broke her serve in the opening game of the match but she recovered to win six of the next seven games and take the first set.
Larsson fought hard in the second set too but Kvitova's blend of power hitting and deft drop shots eventually proved too much.
Prior to the tournament, Kvitova told BBC Sport that she had "won her fight" by simply being fit for Wimbledon. However, she is one of only two former champions in the women's singles draw - Venus Williams being the other - and so any further improvement could see her in contention for a third title.
Halep storms through
In a wide open women's singles draw, second seed Simona Halep, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2014, set down a marker with a comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory over New Zealand qualifier Marina Erakovic.
The Romanian, who lost to Jelena Ostapenko in this year's French Open final, needed just one hour 13 minutes to beat Erakovic, who released her debut record under the stage name Mad Era earlier this year.
Halep will face Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round, after the Brazilian saw off Britain's Laura Robson 6-4 6-2.
Elsehwere, Ukraine's fourth seed Elina Svitolina, who squandered a big lead against Halep to lose in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, began her campaign with a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 (10-8) win over Australia's Ashleigh Barty.
Azarenka wins on return as Bouchard falters
Former world number one Victoria Azarenka came from a set behind to beat Catherine Bellis 3-6 6-2 6-1 in her first Grand Slam match since the 2016 French Open, having given birth to son Leo in December.
American Bellis, 18, surged into a 3-0 lead and held her advantage to take the first set, before Azarenka, 27, did the same in the second to level the match.
The Belarusian then showed glimpses of the game that took her to two Australian Open titles in racing out to a 4-0 lead in the decider and rode a brief fightback from Bellis to wrap up a promising win as the light faded on Court One.
Azarenka will play 15th seed Elena Vesnina in round two after the Russian beat compatriot Anna Blinkova 6-4 5-7 6-2.
In contrast to Azarenka, Canada's Eugenie Bouchard - runner-up in 2014 - started strongly against 25th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, only to collapse to a 1-6 6-1 6-1 defeat.