|Nadal eases through to third-round tie with wildcard Muller who defeated the Spaniard in 2005 [GALLO/GETTY]
Five-time champion Venus Williams needed three sets and nearly three hours to overcome the oldest player in the field on Wednesday to reach the third-round at Wimbledon.
With rain delaying play on the other courts at the All England Club, Williams outlasted Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-7 (6), 6-3, 8-6 in a compelling battle under the sliding roof of Centre Court.
Williams relied on her big serve at key moments to overcome a gritty challenge from the 40-year-old Japanese player, who was the second oldest woman to reach the second-round here in the Open era after Martina
In the men's tournament Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick cruised through to the third-round.
Next up for Nadal is a tough match against Gilles Muller who the Spaniard described after crushing Ryan Sweeting in three sets as "dangerous".
Tricky first date
It was the first time Venus Williams and Kimiko Date-Krumm had met in their long careers and it was a match either player seemed likely to win.
"It was tough. She came out and I just couldn't seem to get a game," Williams said.
"She played so well and before I knew it the ball was past me every time in the first set."
Williams, who turned 31 last week and is playing in her 15th straight Wimbledon, was pushed to the limit.
Date-Krumm kept her off balance by ripping back her serves, hitting flat groundstrokes from corner to corner and sneaking into the net for drop volleys.
With rain pounding on the translucent roof, Williams and Date-Krumm put on a fighting display of competitive tennis.
"Obviously I'd prefer to win in straight sets with no breaks but against a player like her today, right until the end she was attacking," Williams said.
| Murray keeps the dream alive for British fans with victory over Kamke in the second-round [GALLO/GETTY]
Rafa Nadal continued the defence of his Wimbledon title with a crushing 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over American Ryan Sweeting in the second-round on Wednesday.
The Spanish top seed was in ruthless mood, battering Sweeting with his usual range of crunching groundstrokes and booming serves.
Nadal, bidding for his third Wimbledon title and 11th grand slam crown, sealed victory with a simple forehand volley.
"I was playing very well," said Nadal.
"The second and beginning of the third I had the match completely under control, but he had a few good shots."
Nadal plays wildcard Gilles Muller in the third-round, a man who defeated him in the second-round in 2005.
"He has a very good serve, good volley. He's especially very dangerous player in this kind of surface. So will be tough match for me,'' said Nadal.
Also through to the third-round was fourth-seeded Andy Murray, who beat Tobias Kamke of Germany 6-3, 6-3, 7-5.
The 24-year-old British player never lost serve, saving the only break point he faced, as he again pursues his bid to become the first homegrown male champion here since Fred Perry in 1936.
Three-times runner-up Andy Roddick, the eighth-seed, also made the next round, defeating Romania's Victor Hanescu 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, and next plays Spain's Feliciano Lopez.
Other men advancing on Wednesday were 2010 runner-up and sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, ninth-seeded Gael Monfils, No. 10 Mardy Fish and No. 17 Richard Gasquet.
In the women's tournament, second-seeded Zvonareva beat fellow Russian Vesnina 6-1, 7-6 (5) while fourth-seeded Azarenka disposed of Benesova 6-0, 6-3.