Ex-champions Sam Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki cruised into the third round of the WTA Tour’s Family Circle Cup on Wednesday, while Venus Williams had to battle her way through.
The second-seeded Wozniacki breezed past Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-1 in just under an hour, while the third-seeded Aussie Stosur routed New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic 6-1, 6-2 on the green clay at Daniel Island Tennis Center.
Wozniacki only entered the tournament on the weekend, after she and golfer boyfriend Rory McIlroy postponed a trip to Haiti.
Stosur claimed the title in 2010, while Wozniacki won in 2011.
“I felt like I really served well and returned well today,” Wozniacki said. “Playing your first match of the year on clay, it’s always going to be difficult to slide and move unbelievably, but I felt like I did a pretty good job of that out there and I’m pleased with my work.”
Stosur was playing her first match since withdrawing prior to the quarter-finals at Indian Wells last month with a calf injury.
“As the match went on I felt really good and the way I was playing all came together,” Stosur said. “And of course, I really enjoy playing on this court, so I always try to do my best every time I’m out there.”
Williams, the fifth seed who won the title in 2004, had to work harder to get past 19-year-old Puerto Rican Monica Puig.
Puig pushed the seven-time Grand Slam winner to three sets, Williams advancing 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
Yet another former champion was taken to the limit as seventh-seeded Jelena Jankovic, the winner in 2007, rallied to beat French qualifier Caroline Garcia 5-7, 7-6 (12/10), 6-3.
US qualifier Mallory Burdette surprised 15th-seeded 2009 champion Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in their second-round match.
Burdette booked a third-round clash with world No. 1 and reigning Charleston champ Serena Williams.