WTA Tour, Madrid Open: Serena Williams vows to improve after 'sluggish' first-round victory

Last Updated: 07/05/13 5:56pm

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Serena Williams: American is defending her title in Madrid

Serena Williams: American is defending her title in Madrid

Sky Bet

World number one Serena Williams overcame a slow start to beat teenage qualifier Yulia Putintseva in straight sets at the Madrid Open.

Williams, the defending champion, prevailed 7-6 6-1 in her first-round encounter with the 88th-ranked Kazakh, who is 13 years her junior.

Putintseva, 18, had come through two rounds of qualifying and appeared to handle the warm conditions better during a tight opening set.

Both players dropped serve once and Putintseva managed to save another three break points to force a tie-break, which Williams took 7-5.

"I felt a little sluggish at the beginning, but happily I was able to win. I know I will need to play better as each match goes on."
Serena Williams

Williams dominated the second set, breaking four times to complete victory in one hour and 37 minutes.

"I felt a little sluggish at the beginning, but happily I was able to win," said Williams, who will play Spanish wildcard Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the second round. "I know I will need to play better as each match goes on."

Venus injured

Serena's older sister Venus Williams withdrew prior to her first-round match against Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues due to a back injury.

Medina Garrigues beat Venus' replacement Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-3 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska raced past Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2 6-4, while German sixth seed Angelique Kerber came from a set down to defeat Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6 6-3 6-2.

But 10th-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki made an early exit, beaten 6-2 6-4 by Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova.

There was also a shock loss for Li Na, the fifth seed from China tumbling out 6-3 6-2 by American lucky loser Madison Keys, giving the teenager her first ever win over a top-10 ranked player.

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