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16 May 2019, 12:06 | Henrietta Morgan
Serena Williams returns with victory at Italian Open
Tenth seed Serena started her clay-court season with a commanding 6-4 6-2 over Rebecca Peterson at the Foro Italico.
The 37-year old finished the match with 28 winners and 22 unforced errors in comparison to Peterson's 8 winners and 20 unforced errors.
Either side of Williams pulling out of her scheduled second-round match with sister Venus due to an ongoing left knee problem, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Ostapenko were each forced to call an early halt to their respective contests in Rome.
Serena and Venus Williams won their respective first round matches in Rome on Monday and will meet in the second round of the Italian Open.
Meanwhile, Johanna Konta will face American Sloane Stephens in the second round after a straight-sets win over her compatriot Alison Riske.
Svitolina - seeking a third title in a row in Rome - then blew a 4-1 lead in the third set of a rain-hit duel with Azarenka, as the latter saved a match point and completed an unlikely comeback to triumph 4-6 6-1 7-5. "But I did everything I could to stay fit and to keep my cardio up. I think that's really what today was about, just trying to get going".
"I've just been on this diet basically. When you're sedentary, it becomes hard to manage your body", Williams told The Times. So it's just basically you have to eat grass. But it worked and it paid off.
"I feel really sad about it, but I will do everything possible to recover as quick as I can".
Dominika Cibulkova defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 30 minutes, losing serve only once and controlling the pace of the match with five breaks of serve that propelled her over the top with a break in the ninth game of the second set.
In the meantime she is enjoying sharing her favourite sites in Rome with her daughter Olimpia who turns two in September.
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"It was a very long match", Venus said.
"I vaguely remember that, so I don't really remember", Serena laughed.
"I know that she's going to play really well and compete really well". Obviously the pasta and the food.
They both had 19 break points and Elise grabbed one more thanks to that second set, coming from a 5-1 down in the decider and saving six match points on the return in the eighth game and extra two at 4-5 to level the score and prolong this dramatic encounter.
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