WTA Madrid Open: Serena Williams beats Switzerland's Belinda Bencic
Last Updated: 04/05/14 10:38pm
Serena Williams: Opens Madrid Open title defence with win over Belinda Bencic
Top-seeded Serena Williams began the defence of her Madrid Open title with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win over 17-year-old Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic on Sunday.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion is chasing her third consecutive Madrid title and took to the court for the first time since suffering a shock defeat to Jana Cepelova in Charleston.
And despite the ease of her victory, Williams, who is chasing her 60th career title, did have to overcome a break of serve from Bencic, ranked 98th in the world.
But she broke Bencic's serve five times thereafter and looked sharp during the second set where she won 21 points unanswered at one stage.
"I was playing such a young player and she had nothing to lose and she has such a bright future so it wasn't very easy going out there," Williams said.
"But it feels good to get a win under my belt on clay. I think I played well, I went for a lot of winners and they actually went in so I was like wow.
"I love the crowd here, I love the Spanish. They just have so much life."
The world No 1 was joined in the second round by Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova, who had a tough test against unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea before coming through 6-1 5-7 7-6.
Maria Sharapova of Russia, the eighth seed, and 11th-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic also went through, seeing off Czech Klara Koukalova and American Madison Keys respectively.
Seventh-seeded German Angelique Kerber was trailing French qualifier Caroline Garcia 6-3 2-0 when she had to retire because of a back injury.
"I've been feeling my back for a few days now and felt it again in the first set and it was getting worse as the match went on," Kerber said.