She emerged from her first-round joust against irina Falconi the 6-4, 6-4 winner, yet this was far from a routine straight-sets victory.
The injury-hit Italian, who came through qualifying to make her Centre Court debut in this match, illustrated why her current ranking of 247 is misleading, overcoming a slow start to test Kerber’s movement around the court – and finding her wanting more than once.
“Playing first rounds in Grand Slams are always tough, especially with my first-round match that I lost in Paris,” said the left-handed German afterwards, in a reference to her fall at the first hurdle at Roland Garros five weeks ago. “I was actually just thinking about point by point, trying to find my rhythm during the whole match.
“One of the major challenges about being No.1 is that there are much more expectations, much more pressure, from me, from outside, from everything. It’s harder to stay there than get there.