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Serena on song

Friday, August 01, 2014

STANFORD, California - Serena Williams put a worrying Wimbledon behind her yesterday, launching her build-up to the US Open with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Karolina Pliskova at Stanford.

The American world No.1, playing for the first time since her third-round singles exit at Wimbledon was followed by a dramatic doubles retirement, showed no sign of illness or rust as she rolled to victory over the 45th-ranked Czech in 64 minutes.

After enjoying a first-round bye, the top seed punched her ticket to the quarter-finals of the WTA hardcourt tournament, where she'll face the winner of Thursday's second-round match between former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic and Canadian qualifier Carol Zhao.

"She had a really good serve," Williams said of Pliskova, who kept the first set close but finally surrendered the frame when Williams broke her in the final game.

"I think I played really well," Williams said. "I'm on the right path. I'm excited and I'm looking forward to my next match."

Second-seeded world No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska was less successful in her first outing since a disappointing Wimbledon.

Unseeded Varvara Lepchenko toppled Radwanska 6-3 3-6 6-4 for her first win over the Polish star in six career meetings.

Lepchenko next faces US qualifier Sachia Vickery, a 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-1 winner over Puerto Rico's Monica Puig.

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