Venus Williams overcame a spirited effort from Japan’s Risa Ozaki to reach the second round of the Hong Kong Open on Monday.
The seven-time grand slam champion and second seed twice fell a break down in the opening set but displayed impressive resilience to wrap up a 6-4 6-1 win, sealing the victory with a forehand winner.
Praising Ozaki after the match the world number 14 said: “A win is a win. She played really well with so many defensive shots, she was very competitive and she wanted to win.
“It didn’t matter to her that she was playing an opponent with much more experience. She really was motivated to win. I really respected her competitive spirit.”
Joining Williams in the second round is eighth seed Daria Gavrilova, who cruised to a 6-0 6-2 defeat of qualifier Zhu Lin.
Alize Cornet saw off Varvara Lepchenko 6-3 6-2, while Katerina Siniakova won a hard-fought match with Nicole Gibbs 6-3 4-6 6-2 after two hours.
Louisa Chirico easily beat wildcard Lee Ya-hsuan 6-2 6-1 and Aleksandra Krunic needed only 48 minutes to hammer Luksika Kumkhum 6-1 6-0.