Venus Williams cruised through her first match since the U.S. Open, beating 15-year-old WTA rookie Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 6-3, 6-1 Tuesday in the first round of the Luxembourg Open.
Williams broke her opponent five times, losing her own serve once in the first set.
Williams struggled with a back problem at the U.S. Open but said she felt better in her return to the court.
”I was playing with some problems at the Open – it was difficult to serve, and that’s a huge part of my game,” Williams said. ”But I have worked really hard to be able to be here, and I came planning to put some good serves in the box.
”I was happy with it today. Right now I’m going more for percentage than power, which is tough, because I really like hitting it hard.”
Bencic was playing her first tour match, and said she had been excited when she saw the draw.
”It was a very great experience to play against Venus in my first WTA main draw,” she said. ”There were things I could have done better, but I’m happy how I did.”
Earlier, top-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy beat an inconsistent Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 Tuesday to reach the second round of the Luxembourg Open.
Govortsova won just six points on her serve in the first set, and nine in the third – but converted all three of her break points in the middle set in a see-saw match.
Jelena Jankovic also advanced to the next round when her opponent Peng Shuai of China retired with a shoulder injury with the former top-ranked Serb leading 3-0.
Second-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany had no trouble advancing, beating Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 6-1, while Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens underscored her good form by eliminating fifth-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.