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No. 1 Serena Williams advances after rough set

No. 1 Serena Williams advances after embarrassing first set; Andy Murray moves on, too

No. 1 Serena Williams advances after rough set

MASON, Ohio (AP) -- Serena Williams overcame what she described as one of her worst sets before beating qualifier Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday in her opening match at the Western & Southern Open.

It was her first match since she won at Toronto on Sunday, equaling her career best with her eighth singles title this season. She's never done well in Cincinnati, reaching the semifinals one time.

If she doesn't play much better, she won't be around very long this time, either.

"It was just really different conditions than Toronto," she said. "And I always forget that it's so different here. So it took me a while to get used to it.

"I have to get used to them because this is a tournament I don't have on my roster. And if I play like today, I'll continue not to have it."

Williams had 37 unforced errors in the unseasonably cool, windy conditions. Twenty-two of them came off her forehand, including one that she won't forget in that ugly first set on a center court that seems to entice her worst tennis.

"I even had the easiest approach shot and it went not slightly wide, it was like 50 feet out," she said. "That was actually embarrassing. So I thought I'd never hit a shot like that professionally. I have maybe in practice with my eyes closed, but never conscious have I hit a shot like that.

"So it was just some crazy tennis out there."

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray had an easy time in his opening match at the tournament, which he has won twice. The second-seeded Murray needed only 69 minutes to beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3.

Murray, who is also the defending U.S. Open champion, was coming off a third-round loss last week in Montreal, his first action since becoming the first British male to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. He's using the tournament in Cincinnati to get ready to defend his Open title.

"He made more mistakes than I expected," Murray said. "I just want to play as many matches as I can. It's important to get a few matches in before New York. I didn't make too many errors and hit a high percentage of first serves."

His volleys were erratic, something he'll work on the rest of the week.

"I just missed a couple," he said. "Hopefully, I'll get that going as the week goes on."

Murray will play 36th-ranked Julien Benneteau in the third round.

Eleventh-seeded German Tommy Haas also advanced, beating No. 46 Spaniard Marcel Granollers, 6-4, 6-1. He earned a matchup with fifth-seeded and five-time tournament champion Roger Federer.

In the women's draw, 11th-seeded Australian Samantha Stosur reached the third round with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win over 26th-ranked American Jamie Hampton.

Sixth-seeded Italian Sara Errani struggled early against 102nd-ranked Polona Hercog of Slovakia before winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. That set up a third-round matchup with 12th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci, who pulled out a 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over German qualifier Andrea Petkovic.


AP freelance writer Mark Schmetzer contributed to this report.


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Updated : 2021-07-29 02:21 GMT+08:00