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Venus Williams returned to action for the first time since Charleston at the beginning of April with an impressive straight sets victory over Yaroslava Shvedova 64 76(4) in the Monday’s night session at the Foro Italico.
The 36-year-old fell behind to an early break at the start of the match but soon began to look sharp, reeling off five straight games to race to a 5-2 lead before the momentum swung Shvedova’s way. The Kazakh pegged the score back to 5-4 but the American didn’t waste another opportunity, serving it out at the second attempt to put her a set ahead.
The former world No. 1 then shot to a 3-0 lead at the beginning of the second set only for the ever-solid Shvedova to wrestle it back to 3-3. It stayed with serve for a couple of games before an inconsistent period of tennis from the American allowed Shvedova to go up a break at 5-4. Her lead was short-lived however as Williams broke back and the set went on to be decided by a tiebreak which the two-time former Italian Open duly won.
The victory was Williams’ first clay court match-win of the year and sets up a second round clash against Lesia Tsurenko.