WTA Tour, Madrid Open: Serena Williams vows to improve after 'sluggish' first-round victory
Serena Williams overcame a slow start to beat teenage qualifier Yulia Putintseva in straight sets at the Madrid Open.
Last Updated: 07/05/13 5:56pm
Williams, the defending champion, prevailed 7-6 6-1 in her first-round encounter with the 88th-ranked Kazakh, who is 13 years her junior.
Putintseva, 18, had come through two rounds of qualifying and appeared to handle the warm conditions better during a tight opening set.
Both players dropped serve once and Putintseva managed to save another three break points to force a tie-break, which Williams took 7-5.
Williams dominated the second set, breaking four times to complete victory in one hour and 37 minutes.
"I felt a little sluggish at the beginning, but happily I was able to win," said Williams, who will play Spanish wildcard Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the second round. "I know I will need to play better as each match goes on."
Serena's older sister Venus Williams withdrew prior to her first-round match against Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues due to a back injury.
Medina Garrigues beat Venus' replacement Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-3 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska raced past Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2 6-4, while German sixth seed Angelique Kerber came from a set down to defeat Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6 6-3 6-2.
But 10th-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki made an early exit, beaten 6-2 6-4 by Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova.
There was also a shock loss for Li Na, the fifth seed from China tumbling out 6-3 6-2 by American lucky loser Madison Keys, giving the teenager her first ever win over a top-10 ranked player.