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Venus Williams opens with win in Rome

By
The Sports Xchange
Venus Williams opened up with a victory in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Venus Williams opened up with a victory in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Ninth-seeded American Venus Williams posted a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Russian Yaroslava Shvedova in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Monday in Rome.

Williams benefited from five aces to win the match in 91 minutes.

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While Williams was able to advance, fellow seeded player Elena Vesnina was not as fortunate. China's Qiang Wang cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 win over the 11th-seeded Russian.

Fourteenth-seeded Czech Barbora Strycova advanced after her opponent, Darya Kasatkina, retired in the second set. The Russian was leading 6-4, 3-4 before Kasatkina exited the match.

Twelfth-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova recorded 10 aces and won 68 percent of her first-serve points to outlast Australian Samantha Stosur 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1 in a match that lasted two hours, 35 minutes.

Sixteenth-seeded Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni posted a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.

Lucic-Baroni could be in for a tough test in the next round against three-time champion Maria Sharapova, who returned to the tournament with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win over American Christina McHale.

"At this point, it's week to week. I certainly have expectations of myself," Sharapova said. "When you've accomplished things and you've won big events and you've been No.1 in the world, you know that feeling. You know how good it feels and you know what you work for, so I would love to experience those moments again."

Also on Monday, Serbia's Jelena Jankovic breezed to a 6-3, 6-3 win over American Alison Riske, Russian Yulia Putintseva posted a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Puerto Rico's Monica Puig and Ukraine's Lesya Tsurenko recorded a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over Italian Deborah Chiesa.

Frenchwoman Alize Cornet cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Italian Sara Errani and German Laura Siegemund breezed to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Japan's Naomi Osaka.

In other matches, Czech Katerina Siniakova overcame dropping the first set in a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over China's Zhang Shuai and Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia posted a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (6) win over Croatian Donna Vekic.

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