Serena Williams opened her 2016 clay season with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over German Anna-Lena Friedsam Tuesday at the Rome Masters.
After injuries, Rome is just Serena’s fourth event of the year, and she’s still seeking he first title since Cincinnati last summer.
“I was really happy with my level,” Serena said. “I think I was really consistent. I think I was mentally consistent. I started out fast. Those are some of the things I wanted to work on [and] I was really happy about that.”
2015 finalist Carla Suarez Navarro also joined Serena in the third round with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Brazilian Teliana Pereira.
Other winners on the day were Sam Stosur who saved a match point to beat Alison Riske. Timea Bacsinszky toppled Yanina Wickmayer in a match-up of former Grand Slam semifinalists.
Svetlana Kuznetsova ousted Caroline Garcia and Daria Garvilona knocked out Sabine Lisicki.
In the match of the day, Eugenie Bouchard edged Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
“I think I’m still on that journey of trying to, you know, be the best player I can be,” Bouchard said. “I feel like I have been working hard every single day, and I feel like I have good guidance, I’m on the right path.
“So I think it’s just making sure I still continue to believe in myself, and, you know, trusting that if I do all the right things, if I work hard, if I have the talent, if I have good guidance, you know, one day it has to come.”
The Wednesday schedule includes Petra Kvitova against Madison Keys, Italian favorite Roberta Vinci vs. British No. 1 Johanna Konta and the debut of Madrid champion Simona Halep who faces Gavrilova.
Kvitova, who has been dealing with injuries throughout the season, is just hoping not to hurt herself again.
“My goal is not to hurt myself,” Kvitova said. “Not really to be injured again. That’s the main thing.
“I know I’m missing the practices, but I’m here to do my best again and we’ll see how everything will handle it. Of course Paris is coming, and it’s still week between, which is good. We’ll see how everything is going but no expectations really here.”
Venus Williams also returns against Timea Babos and Ana Ivanovic matches-up with Christina McHale. Angelique Kerber collides with Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka is also on court.
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