Serena makes winning return

2012-03-22 21:29

Miami - Serena Williams made a triumphant WTA return in her first tournament match since the Australian Open, defeating China's Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday at the WTA and ATP Miami hardcourt event.

Williams, who had been sidelined by a left ankle injury, fired six aces and connected on 64% of her first serves while surrendering only one service break to advance into the third round with an 80-minute triumph.

The 13-time Grand Slam singles champion will next face Italy's Roberta Vinci, who ousted Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5, 6-1.

Former world No 1 Williams played for the US Fed Cup team last month, winning two singles matches in a 5-0 World Group II victory over Belarus.

But she had not been in a tour match since losing to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova in the round of 16 at Melbourne.

Five-time Miami winner Williams, the 10th seed on the women's side of the $9.6 million event, withdrew before her Brisbane quarter-final match because of the ankle injury in her only other WTA start this year.

Results on Thursday from the third day of the $9.6 million ATP and WTA Miami hardcourt tournament (x denotes seed):


First round

Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Potito Starace (ITA) 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-4
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) bt Jesse Levine (USA) 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (7/3)
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) bt Lukasz Kubot (POL) 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/2)
Albert Ramos (ESP) bt Simone Bolelli (ITA) 6-3, 6-1
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) bt Flavio Cipolla (ITA) 6-3, 7-5


Second round

Roberta Vinci (ITA x21) bt Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 7-5, 6-1
Kim Clijsters (BEL) bt Julia Goerges (GER x14) 6-2, 7-5
Sabine Lisicki (GER x12) bt Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 6-3, 6-2
Mona Barthel (GER) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB x13) 6-0, 6-3
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL x23) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-3, 6-4
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) bt Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 1-6, 6-4, 6-0
Serena Williams (USA x10) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN) 6-2, 6-3