CINCINNATI, Aug 14: Serena Williams re-established her customary superiority, hammering Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 to reach the second round of the Cincinnati Masters.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion showed full recovery in her first match since suffering the worst defeat of her career two weeks ago in San Jose when she was crushed 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes by British No. 1 Johanna Konta.
But the 36-year-old was all business on Monday as she cleaned up on Australian Gavrilova, with Williams winning an 11th straight match here.
Though she has not played the tournament in three years, Williams lifted back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 after losing the 2013 final to Victoria Azarenka.
Andy Murray�s injury comeback was sidetracked as the three-time Grand Slam champion lost 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 to Lucas Pouille.
But fellow injury patient Stan Wawrinka opened with a defeat of 12th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic survived a stiff test, needing nine match points to outlast Steve Johnson of the US 6-4, 7-6 (7/4). Djokovic is coming off a third round loss at last week�s Toronto tournament.
Murray, returning from a hip surgery sustained in January, was unable to get past the French 16th seed, hampering his preparations for the US Open starting on August 27.
Murray last played 11 days ago in a Washington third-round match which took him three hours to win and ended at 3 am.
The 31-year-old two-time Wimbledon winner is working his way back slowly and felt he could not subject his body to a quarterfinal just over 12 hours later, prompting him to withdraw from that event.
Pouille had lost his previous three matches to Murray, the last at Dubai in 2017.
In the women�s first round, Azarenka made her first appearance here since 2015 count as she defeated Spanish veteran Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4.
Double Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova continued her 2017 injury comeback, beating Swiss Stefanie Voegele 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5). � AFP