No. 4 seed Venus Williams avoided a first-round upset on Monday at the Italian Open in Rome, outlasting Czech Lucie Safarova 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
Williams was playing her first match since being upset by eventual champion Sabine Lisicki in the third round at Charleston, spraying a number of unforced errors in the second set to go to a deciding set.
“We both played aggressive,” Venus told the media. “She’s just going for every shot, for the lines. I was OK with the match being a little longer. I just I want to hit balls. In a way it’s not too bad to go three sets.”
Victoria Azarenka was also a winner, beating Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita who retired due to a left thigh strain.
First round seeded winners on the day included included No. 9 seed Caroline Wozniacki, No. 10 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 12 seed Flavia Pennetta, and No. 14 seed Zheng Jie.
France’s Alize Cornet was a winner, but No. 15 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues was an upset victim, falling to Russian Anna Chakvetadze in straight sets.
Tuesday’s matches include Jelena Jankovic vs. Argentine Gisela Dulko, top seed Dinara Safina against Virginie Razzano, Ana Ivanovic against Francesca Schiavone, and Serena Williams against Patty Schnyder.
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