Tennis: Williams stays alive in second-round singles

Tue Aug 9, 2016 10:13am EDT
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By Drazen Jorgic and Scott Malone

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - U.S. tennis powerhouse Serena Williams dispatched France's Alize Cornet in two sets on Monday, ending a streak of weak family performances that saw older sister Venus eliminated from singles on Saturday and the pair knocked out in doubles on Sunday.

The younger Williams, a 34-year-old four-time Olympic gold medalist, had a slow and frustrating start against Cornet before turning the momentum to win 7-6 (5), 6-2, picking up the pace in the second set after the first ran over an hour long.

"I just needed to relax. I was missing shots by literally centimeters," Williams said, adding that she "tried to add a little more spin" in the second set, after a long series of unforced errors in the first.

Spain's Garbine Muguruza topped Japan's Nao Hibino 6-1 6-1.

Earlier, Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova knocked out former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the second round of the Rio Olympics on Monday, in another poorly attended tennis match on center court.

Twice Wimbledon champion Kvitova overpowered Wozniacki 6-2 6-4 to progress to the third round, where she will face either Russia's Ekaterina Makarova or Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

"It was a tough draw for me. Petra played well today, really played aggressively and got me on my heels a little bit," said Wozniacki, ranked 53 in the world after an injury-ravaged season.

Wozniacki's participation had been in doubt as injury prevented her from fulfilling the minimum number of Davis and Fed Cup appearances required in a four-year Olympic cycle to qualify for the Games.   Continued...

Serena Williams (USA) of USA reacts during her match against Alize Cornet (FRA) of France.  REUTERS/Toby Melville