Madrid - World No 1 Serena Williams was given a reasonable test in her first
match at the Madrid Masters on Sunday against Kazakh qualifier Yulia Putintseva
before the American eventually prevailed 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.
Putintseva had come through two rounds of qualifying and she seemed to
handle the warm conditions better early on in an extremely tight first set.
Both women broke each other once and Putintseva managed to save another
three break points to force the set into a tie-break.
However, the World No 88 finally crumbled at 5-4 in the tie-break as she
fired long and Williams served out the set before taking control in the second,
breaking four times to close out the match.
"I felt a little sluggish at the beginning, but happily I was able to
win," the 15-time Grand Slam winner told a press conference afterwards.
"I know I will need to play better as each match goes on."
And Williams believes the warm conditions in the Spanish capital should be
to her advantage as the tournament progresses.
"I have been training in Europe for a little more than a week, but long
enough. I trained in Paris for a few days and then I came here.
"I think these clay courts are really good, they are a little bit quick
which is really good for me and it's also a lot warmer here so overall it’s
However, it wasn't such a good day for Serena's sister Venus as she was
forced to pull out of the tournament with a back injury.
The world No 21 had been due to open play on Sunday on the main showcourt
against Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues, but she pulled out before the match
could get underway.
"I was desperate to play in the Madrid Open this year, but
unfortunately due to the pain in my back I cannot compete," she said in a
statement released by the tournament organisers.
"I will continue working hard to return as soon as possible."
World No 10 Caroline Wozniacki became the first big name to fall in
matchplay as the former world No 1 was beaten in straight sets by Yaroslava
Shvedova 6-2, 6-4.
Results on Sunday in the WTA Madrid Open:
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 7-6 (7/5), 6-1
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x10) 6-2, 6-4
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) bt Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-3, 6-3
Mara Teresa Torr (ESP) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-2, 7-5
Marion Bartoli (FRA x14) bt Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3, 3-0 (abandon)
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Ayumi Morita (JPN) 3-0 (abandon)
Angelique Kerber (GER x6 bt Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x4) bt Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 6-2, 6-4
Kaia Kanepi (EST) bt Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x15) bt Lesya Tsurenko (UKR) 6-3, 6-2