- Rome Masters
Serena and Sharapova progress in Rome
Serena Williams booked her place in the third round of the Italian Open after beating Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-2, less than a week after pulling out of Madrid with a left thigh injury.
The world No.1, who was forced to withdraw from her quarter-final clash against Petra Kvitova at the Madrid Open, was undecided on whether she would participate in Rome after arriving to Italy on Monday.
However, she kicked off the defence of her Italian Open crown with a comfortable victory over former top 10 player Petkovic to collect her 10th straight win in Rome.
Williams raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening set. Petkovic twice managed to hold serve to win two games, but Williams with 14 winners took the set in 34 minutes.
The second set was similar to the first as Williams went 3-0 in front. The American completed victory in an hour and 16 minutes as she did not face any break points in the second set.
Maria Sharapova began her campaign with a 6-3 7-5 victory over qualifier Monica Puig to make it 12 wins from 12 on clay in 2014.
Sharapova, who has won back-to-back tournaments in Stuttgart and Madrid, will now face former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic in the next round in a repeat of the Stuttgart final last month.
Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was also a victor on Wednesday after the 2012 Wimbledon finalist beat Paula Ormaechea 6-3 6-2.