California, July 29 – Second seeded American Venus Williams defeated Stephanie Dubois of Canada 6-2, 6-3 in the opening round of the 700,000 dollar WTA Bank of the West Classic.
Williams is also playing doubles with her sister Serena who had to work for her 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) victory over China’s Li Na in the night match.
"It was a great match to get my rhythm, hit a lot of balls and work on my shots," said Williams, who won titles here in 2000 and 2002. "It’s all about the mentality. I usually adjust pretty quickly. I do want to try new and different things."
In other matches, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia outlasted Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. The marathon match took two hours and 33 minutes.
Defending champion Wozniak became the first Canuck in 20 years to capture a Tour title when she won the 2008 tournament.
The sisters won their first doubles match in Stanford. They grew up five hours down the freeway in crime-plagued south central Los Angeles and in an awkward moment at Tuesday’s news conference Venus seemed to mistake upscale Stanford for their hometown.
"We love playing in L.A. I’m sorry, not L.A., I mean California. It feels like home for us," Venus said.
Na had her serve broken three times in the opening set but rallied in the tiebreaker from 6-2 down to level at 6-6. Serena won it on the seventh match point.
Serena rarely gives opponents credit in post-game talks preferring to discuss the high and low points of her own game. But she did manage to praised Na for the way she battled on Tuesday.
"I was playing a tough player who never gives up," Serena said.
"Obviously I can play better," she continued. "I think I hit five first serves in the whole match. I’m a little off. That’s fine. I’d rather be a little off now than later."
World number two Serena had seven double faults in the first set and at one point slammed her racket to the ground in frustration.
"I was too anxious and ready to go home," said Serena who is making her second appearance at the Stanford tournament.
She has two Grand Slam wins in 2009 — Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
Venus has advanced to the finals in six of her seven appearances at the tournament.