(Recasts after later games)
By Mark Elkington
MADRID May 7 Serena Williams marked her first
European appearance of the season with victory on the Madrid
Open's striking blue clay courts on Monday, but her sister Venus
crashed out in the second round.
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.
The only seeded player to fall was number 15 Jelena Jankovic
who went out to Spanish wildcard Carla Suarez 4-6 7-6 6-4 in the
Serena 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,"
Venus entered Madrid on a wildcard as she started her third
tournament after seven months out suffering with Sjogren's
Syndrome, an auto-immune disease which causes fatigue and joint
The former world number one struggled past Romania's Simona
Halep in three sets on Saturday, but crumpled against stronger
opposition on Monday falling 6-4 6-1 to 12th seed Angelique
Kerber of Germany.
Kerber, 24, is in the midst of her breakout season with both
her career title coming in 2012
China's Li Na, the eighth seed, joined Kerber in the last 16
with a straightforward victory over Spanish wildcard Silvia
Soler-Espinosa 6-3 6-1.
Czech qualifier Andrea Hlavackova and compatriot Lucie
Hradecka, Italian Sara Errani, Russia's Ekaterina Makarova, and
Estonia's Kaia Kanepi also made it through to the second round.
(Reporting by Mark Elkington editing by Ed Osmond)