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Venus survives scare in U.S. Open first round
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Two-time U.S. Open champion Venus Williams escaped one of the most shocking upsets of her career on Monday as she struggled on serve before rallying for a 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3 first round victory over Russian Vera Dushevina.

Williams committed 53 unforced errors and had 10 double faults but won the match in two hours and 43 minutes to set up a second-round clash against fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

"I had a challenge on my hands today, but I wanted to win," Williams said. "Each good shot and each not-so-good shot I put behind me and looked forward to the next one. Most of all, I just enjoyed the moment."

The seven-time Grand Slam winner has reached at least the fourth round in each of her 10 previous appearances in Flushing.

Former world number one Kim Clijsters made a winning return to Slam tennis with a 6-1 6-1 win over Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine.

The 26-year-old Belgian only returned to competitive tennis at the start of the month after more than two years of retirement, and eased through her first U.S. Open test in just 58 minutes.

The win was the sixth for Clijsters against two losses since she launched her comeback and moved her forward to a second round date against French 14th seed Marion Bartoli, whom she beat in straight sets in her first match back in Cincinnati.

Bartoli cruised past Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay 6-1 6-0, and Serena Williams began the defence of her title with a straightforward 6-4 6-1 victory over fellow American Alexa Glatch.

The world number two, looking for her third Grand Slam title of the year and 12th in all, survived a lapse in concentration midway through the first set to advance in just over an hour.

Williams began strongly but was broken when serving for the opening set at 5-2 as world number 103 Glatch settled after a nervous start.

But she made no mistake second time round and then cruised through the second to set up a clash with Hungary's Melinda Czink.

Jelena Dokic was unable to shake off the rust of a two-month layoff and lost to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-4.

Dokic had not played competitively since a first-round loss at Wimbledon due to mononucleosis.

Indian star Sania Mirza had to fight to beat Olga Govortsova 6-2 3-6 6-3, while Daniela Hantuchova was taken to a deciding set by American Meghann Shaughnessy before the Slovak won 6-2 4-6 6-1.

Seventh seed Vera Zvonareva and 10th seed Flavia Pennetta also cruised into the second round in straight sets.

Also through early on the first day was Belarussian eighth seed Victoria Azarenka, who defeated Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 6-1 6-1, and Polish 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who ousted Patria Mayr of Austria 6-1 6-2.

(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2009)

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