Former world number one Serena Williams marked her first European appearance of the season with victory on the Madrid Open’s striking blue clay courts on Monday.
Holder Petra Kvitova also started well as the third seed defeated New Zealander Marina Erakovic 6-2 6-3.
Towering Czech Kvitova beat Victoria Azarenka in the final last year before going on to win the Wimbledon title.
Williams, who reached the third round the last time she played in Madrid in 2010, powered past last week’s Budapest Grand Prix runner-up Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-3 6-1.
The ninth seed delivered some powerful serves, hitting 14 aces to set up a meeting with another Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, in the next round.
“I was feeling good,” Williams told reporters. “It’s my first tournament in Europe this year and I just hope I can keep up the good form,” added the American who has yet to lose in eight clay outings this season.
“I haven’t noticed a difference between the blue and the red clay. I think it’s the same, it’s just you don’t get as dirty,” added Williams.Report Typo/Error
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