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Saturday, December 3, 2016

TORONTO (AFP) – Serena Williams, who captured the Rogers Cup in 2001 and 2011, easily won her opening match this year by beating former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone in straight sets Wednesday.

The top seeded Williams eliminated Italy’s Schiavone 6-3, 6-2 in the WTA Tour’s $2.4 million hardcourt tournament.

“She’s a grand slam champion so I had to really focus,” said Williams, who was the runner-up in Toronto in 2000. “I made a few errors but it’s my first match on hard (courts) in a really long time.”

Williams next faces No.13 seed Kirsten Flipkens, who beat Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.

Flipkens ousted Venus Williams in the first round earlier this week, but this will be the first career match between her and Serena Williams.

Last year’s runner-up Li Na, of China, Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and Petra Kvitova also won their Toronto openers in straight sets.

Serena Williams blasted five aces and won 68 percent of her first-serve points against the Italian veteran.

The error-prone Schiavone hit nine double faults and won just 25 percent of her second-serve points.

Williams said she is confident going forward in the tournament.

“It took me a few games to adjust to her game. Now I feel like I’m completely adjusted, and I feel good going into the next round,” Williams said.

Fourth-seeded Li stormed to a 6-1, 6-4 win against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova while seventh seed Bartoli, who won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last month, took the first seven games of her match with America’s Lauren Davis in a 6-0, 6-3 victory.

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