Former No. 1s Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova were big winners on opening day of the women’s event at the Cincinnati Masters on Monday.
In the afternoon, Venus snapped a 4-match losing streak by defeating the steady Lauren Davis 7-5, 6-2, saving 7 of 8 break points en route. She’ll now face Top Kiki Bertens tomorrow.
“I think [Bertens] does everything well,” Williams said. “She competes well, and she’s really matured and is coming into herself the last few years. That takes a lot of courage to figure those things out, especially kind of later in your career. It just shows her strength of character, really.
“You know, I’ll definitely see where I can take advantage, but more than anything, if I can play decent, then I have a good chance.”
In the evening, Sharapova held off an in-form Alison Riske 6-3, 7-6(4).
“I think she’s had some of her best results this summer and she’s dangerous, especially in early rounds when you haven’t played a lot of matches and she has,” Sharapova said.
“I was excited about it, and I took on the challenge and I found a way.”
A couple upsets were had as two Carolines fell to 19-year-olds. Ukrainian youngster Dayana Yastremska continued her breakthrough season knocking out Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4. And teen qualifier Iga Swiatek upended Caroline Garcia 7-6(1), 6-1.
“At the beginning, I wasn’t really comfortable on the court,” Yastremska said. “I just got into the game, and I tried to find my game, my rhythm, and that’s what I was doing.
“I think that’s what gave me some really good chances to prove myself, that I could find a really good rhythm, and make it.”
Johanna Konta lost her third straight match falling to Rebecca Peterson.
On tap Tuesday, Serena Williams will test her ailing back against qualifier Zarina Diyas. She’ll be the last match on the day giving her as much time as possible to get healthy.
Victoria Azarenka battles Belinda Bencic and Madison Keys meets Garbine Muguruza.
Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber are also in action.
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