- Madrid Open
Sub-par Serena progresses in Madrid
A subdued Serena Williams booked her place in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino in which a strong start and finish papered over a laboured performance.
The early signs were ominous for Dominguez Lino as the world No. 1 raced into a 3-0 lead, but a sloppy fourth game handed the Spaniard a route into the match. Her confidence restored, Dominguez Lino lifted her game and fashioned a break point of her own only for Williams to hold on her way to a 5-1 lead.
Reliant on guile in the face of Williams' power, Dominguez Lino's ability to stay in the rally made for some entertaining rallies and earned her a break of her own with Williams serving for the set. But having made just 35% of first serves in the set, the 32-year-old immediately handed the break back.
Williams, whose coughs, sniffs and laboured breathing suggested that she is unwell, found the going tougher at the start of the second set. Her bid to shorten points with power playing into Dominguez Lino's hands, though the Spaniard lacked the firepower to punish her below-par opponent.
The duo traded a break apiece as they reached the business end of the set level at 5-5. With that, Williams burst back into life, racing through her service game before breaking for the match.
Late in the evening, Maria Sharapova eased through to the next round with real ease - obliterating Christina McHale 6-1 6-2 to march on with little fuss.
Elsewhere, No. 14 seed Marion Bartoli picked herself up after a nasty slip that resulted in lengthy treatment to her ankle to beat Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-4 2-6 6-4, while Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova overcame Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 4-6 6-4.
Laura Robson, meanwhile, will now face Ana Ivanovic in the third round, after the Serbian comfortably beat Chanelle Scheepers, 6-2 6-2.