Venus Williams opened her European clay court season with a win Monday over big-hitting countrywoman CoCo Vandeweghe 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the Rome Masters.
The 35-year-old Williams entered the event having one just one of her last four matches. This was her first meeting with Vandeweghe.
“I have hit with her a little bit at Fed Cup but not really sure what to expect,” Williams said after the match. “I imagine that on the clay I have a little bit more advantage, just having played more matches on clay. I think that helped a lot.”
Earlier, SVenus teamed up with sister Serena in doubles but lost in the first round to Klepac/Srebotnik.
Other winners on the day included Ana Ivanovic, Madison Keys and Ekatarina Makarova.
It was a tough day for Italian women as both Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani lost. Schiavone fell to Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-2 while Errani was bounced by qualifier Monica Puig 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. Italian Karin Knapp was also sent out of the tournament given the home country women an 0-3 record on the day.
“Francesca is a great player,” Safarova said. “She has a lot of spin and runs well, so it’s never easy to play her. But I was playing really great today, aggressive, and took time away from her, so I’m happy I won.”
Among the highlights On Tuesday, 3-time champion Serena Williams makes her clay debut against Anna-Lena Friedsam and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic takes on Eugenie Bouchard.
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