Blake, Venus Williams into 2nd round in Ohio

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 12: James Blake returns a shot to Jerzy Janowicz of Poland during the Western & Southern Open on August 12, 2013 at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP


MASON, Ohio — Former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur moved into the second round of the Western & Southern Open with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday.

Stosur, who won the 2011 U.S. Open, lost in the round of 16 at the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week after winning the Southern California Open.

In the first night session match, 37th-ranked Venus Williams — a seven-time Grand Slam champion — lost the first three games before roaring back for a 6-4, 6-1 win over qualifier Jana Cepelova. Williams was playing just her second match since losing in the first round of the French Open. She lost in the first round of the Rogers Cup at Toronto last week.

“I had a slow start,” Williams said. “I was missing shots, but I was being aggressive, so I realized if I had made a few more that it would probably be the other way for me.

“She was really determined, I thought. She just looked really determined and really just energetic. She was definitely going to take it to me, so it was good to turn around and get a win. Feels good, yeah.”

Ninth-seeded Angelique Kerber, who lost in last year’s finals to Li Na, overcame losing a first-set tiebreaker before rolling through the last two sets in a 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-1 win over qualifier Karin Knapp. American Sloane Stephens outlasted qualifier Petra Martic 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Former top-ranked singles player Martina Hingis and Daniela Hantuchova advanced to the second round in doubles with a 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 win over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Flavia Pennetta.

Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova will compete in the event together for the first time.

The top-ranked Williams, who won the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday, has never won the Western & Southern, losing in the quarterfinals last year to the then-fifth-seeded Kerber.

“I’m motivated and happy and definitely feeling healthy,” Williams said Monday.