Fri | May 20, 2022

Williams sisters advance

Published:Wednesday | May 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Serena and Venus Williams ended lengthy breaks for knee problems with straight-sets victories over Swiss players in their opening matches at the Italian Open yesterday.

Defending champion Dinara Safina, recovered from a back injury, lost her opener against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1.

Top-ranked Serena defeated Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (2), 6-1 in her first match since winning the Australian Open more than three months ago. No. 4-ranked Venus, taking to the centre court at the Foro Italico just before her sister, handled veteran Patty Schnyder 6-2, 6-2.

Serena was down 4-1 and saved three set points at 5-4 before going to a tie-breaker against Bacsinszky. After dominating the breaker, Serena ran off the next four games to secure the match.

Good performance

Venus had an easier time against Schnyder, a lefty who had defeated Serena in Rome last year. Venus was always in control of the match, breaking the Swiss player six times. Venus had been sidelined since losing the Key Biscayne final a month ago.

"I think it was a pretty good performance. I felt good on court," Venus said. "She probably likes clay with her type of game and I was able to execute pretty well out there on the court."

The sisters, former Rome champions, are preparing for the French Open, which begins on May 23.

In other results, two-time former champion Jelena Jankovic defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, eighth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska beat Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-1, 6-0, and Shahar Peer of Israel came from behind to beat Polona Hercog of Slovenia 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.