Serena marks her return with dominating win

Cincinnati, July 19:

Serena Williams got off to a strong start in her first tournamemt in six months, by dominating second seed Anastasia Myskina 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the Cincinnati Open.

In her first match in six months, the American Williams pounded her way past the Russian on Tuesday. Williams showed virtually no rust, scoring service breaks in each set to make quick work of Myskina, the 2004 French Open champion. A seven-time grand slam champion, the 24-year-old Williams took the court for the first time since the Australian Open in January due to a left knee injury. She missed the entire claycourt and grasscourt seasons, including the French Open and Wimbledon.

The prolonged inactivity dropped Williams — once the top women’s player in the world — from 11th to 140th in the rankings.

Williams is trying to develop a rhythm leading up to the US Open, which she has won twice. Myskina was the only seeded player to lose on Tuesday as five others advanced to the second round.

Fourth seed Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia defeated Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). Srebotnik will face China’s Meng Yuan, who defeated Mariana Diaz-Oliva of Argentina, 6-3, 7-5.

Fifth-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic comfortably moved on with a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Ukrainian Olga Savchuk.

She awaits Italian Maria Elena Camerin, who routed American Carly Gullickson 6-1, 6-1.

Sixth seed Marion Bartoli of France defeated Taiwanese qualifier Chin-Wei Chan, 6-2, 6-3. Bartoli will face Russian qualifier Vasilia Bardina, who eliminated Czech Hana Sromova, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-2.

Next up for Williams could be Shenay Perry, who reached the fourth round of Wimbledon, the best showing of any American. Perry is facing Bethanie Mattek.

Also advancing to the second round were No 8 Gisela Dulko of Argentina and No 9 Sania Mirza of India.