Serena and Venus Williams both posted victories on the second day of action at the WTA event in Charleston.
Venus made a successful start to her campaign in South Carolina, beating Iveta Benesova 6-4 6-3 in her first round match, while Serena eased through her second round clash with Elena Vesnina 6-3 6-4.
Venus, who has recently returned from a long injury absence and received a wild card to take part in Charleston, showed signs of form, slamming down six aces and winning 76 per cent of points on her first serve to brush aside an opponent to whom she has never lost.
“My serve felt great,” Williams said. “I was still adjusting to the surface. Every clay court plays differently, the stadium can play different from the grandstand, I hadn’t played on stadium yet, and you don’t really slide a lot on that court anyway, so I was just getting the feel of the footing. But it was a good start.”
She will face seventh seed Jelena Jankovic in the second round.
Fifth-seeded Serena served imperiously on her way past Russia’s Vesnina, the American firing down 11 aces in her first match on clay for over a year.
“I forgot I hadn’t played on clay in so long,” Serena said. “I feel like it really suits my game. I don’t have to, you know, go crazy and move my feet so much. I guess I hit a lot of aces and I don’t know why. I pretty much just go for my serve and do the best I can.”
Victory for the younger Williams, appearing in Charleston for the first time since winning the tournament in 2008, keeps her on course for a potential meeting with her sister in the semi-finals.
Twelfth seed Yanina Wickmayer beat home favourite Vania King 6-4 6-3, while Anna Tatishvili came from a set down to beat the Netherlands’ Arantxa Rus 1-6 6-4 6-4.
Another US winner was Jill Craybas, who defeated Akgul Amanmuradova 7-6 7-6, while 13th seed Nadia Petrova easily saw off Colombia’s Mariana Duque 6-1 6-2.
Kiwi 17th seed Marina Erakovic also booked her place in the second round with a 6-2 6-4 win over Czech Karolina Pliskova.
In the second round, fourth seed Vera Zvonareva wasted no time in destroying Kateryna Bondarenko – her 6-1 6-1 win came in just 50 minutes.
2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur joined the Russian in round three with a similarly comprehensive 6-0 7-5 win over Jamie Hampton.
Stosur’s Australian countrywoman Anastasia Rodionova sprang the surprise of the day, beating number 10 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues 7-5 6-3 while eighth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also made it through after a three-set 3-6 6-4 6-4 battle with Greek Eleni Daniilidou.