CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) Venus Williams used her powerhouse serves and crisp groundstrokes for a 6-4, 6-2 victory over fellow American Alison Riske at the Volvo Car Open on Wednesday.
The third-seeded Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, is seeking her 50th career WTA title – and got off to a strong start at the clay-court event. She had consecutive serves of 121 mph and 119 mph to close out one game in the first set as fans in the stadium court marveled as the ball zoomed past Riske.
Williams, 35, kept up the attack throughout, winning the final four games to advance.
Others moving on were fifth-seeded Sara Errani and seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens.
No. 4-seeded Lucie Safarova and No. 8-seeded Madison Keys were upset in opening matches.
PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.
Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.
The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.
Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.
Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.
Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.