Venus Williams of the United States. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Venus Williams struggled with accuracy on her serve but still managed to cruise through the first round at the Hong Kong Tennis Open in Hong Kong on Monday.
The second-seeded Williams earned a 6-4, 6-1 win over Japan's Risa Ozaki despite connecting on just 53 percent of her first serves and winning 39 percent of her second serves.
"A win is a win," Williams said. "She played really well with so many defensive shots, she was very competitive and she wanted to win. It didn't matter to her that she was playing an opponent with much more experience.
"She really was motivated to win. I really respected her competitive spirit."
Williams will face France's Alize Cornet in the next round after Cornet breezed past American Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-2.
American Louisa Chirico will join Williams in the second round after breezing past qualifier Ya-Hsuan Lee 6-2, 6-1. Chirico could be looking at a meeting with World No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who is still waiting to square off against Greece's Maria Sakkari in the first round.
--Svetlana Kuznetsova highlighted Monday's action at the Tianjin Open in Tianjin, China, with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Frenchwomen Pauline Parmentier. Second-seeded Kuznetsova will next face Croatian Donna Vekic, who dropped the first set to Kai-Lin Zhang before recovering for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win in two hours, 11 minutes.
Top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who is coming off a win in the China Open over the weekend, has yet to face German Tatjana Maria in an upcoming first-round match.
Akai-Chen Chang, Yafan Wang, Danka Kovinic and Lucie Hradecka were other first-day winners in Tianjin.
--At the Generali Ladies Linz in Linz, Austria, fifth-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was the highest-seeded player to advance, earning a 6-4, 6-1 win over Latvian Anastasija Sevastova.
Viktorija Golubic, Sorana Cirstea and Misaki Doi also advanced in Austria.