Serena Williams

Serena Williams marked her first European appearance of the season with a comfortable 6-3 6-1 victory over Elena Vesnina in the Madrid Open.

On the striking new blue clay courts, the ninth seed coasted into round two and served impressively, with 14 aces.

“I was feeling good,” Williams said. “It’s my first tournament in Europe this year and I just hope I can keep up the good form.”

Holder Petra Kvitova also started well, defeating Marina Erakovic 6-2 6-3.

Williams, who reached the third round the last time she played in Madrid in 2010, struck 40 winners past her Russian opponent, who was last week’s Budapest Grand Prix runner-up, and is unbeaten in eight matches on clay this season as she builds towards the French Open, which starts on 27 May.

It was an impressive performance and, speaking about the new-look of the court, 30-year-old Williams added: “I haven’t noticed, I think it’s the same, you just don’t get as dirty.”

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