China Open: Serena powers through her opener

US Open Champion Serena Williams powered through her opener at the $5.4 million China Open Monday, with the women’s No 1 crushing her opponent after being 5-0 down.

Serena Williams © Gallo Images

Serena Williams © Gallo Images

Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa looked to be cruising to a memorable victory against the power-hitting American in Beijing as she raced to a five-game advantage within twenty minutes.

But Williams’ response was ruthless, taking seven consecutive games to clinch the set with an incredible show of force.

A startled Soler-Espinosa took two games in the following set, but the No 1 seed in Beijing closed in on victory within 73 minutes with a 7-5, 6-2 scoreline.

It was a devastating comeback and a clear statement of intent from Williams, who fell at the first hurdle at the Wuhan Open last week after retiring from her game with a viral illness.

The reigning champion in Beijing won her sixth US Open earlier this month, the 18th Grand Slam title of her career.

Elsewhere in Beijing, seeds Lucie Safarova and Ana Ivanovic made it through their first-round matches.

Serb Ivanovic, a former world No 1, defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1.

The ninth seed in Beijing will play another Swiss player, Romina Oprandi, in the second round.

Thirteenth seed Czech player Safarova beat Italian Camila Giorgi 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 in her opening match.

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