Venus, Sloane easily advance at Tokyo Open

by: AP September 22, 2013

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TOKYO -- Venus Williams overpowered Mona Barthel of Germany 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to advance to the second round of the Pan Pacific Open.

Williams needed just 1 hour, 4 minutes at Ariake Colosseum to dispatch Barthel and set up a second-round matchup with top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who has a first-round bye.

Top-ranked Serena Williams, who won her 17th Grand Slam singles title at the U.S. Open, pulled out of the $2.3 million tournament, saying she needed time to recover from a busy summer playing schedule.

No. 3-ranked Maria Sharapova also pulled out of the Tokyo tournament because of a right-shoulder injury that kept her out of the U.S. Open.

In other matches, ninth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States beat Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2 while 12th-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia came from a set down for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Alize Cornet of France.

Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, seeded 14th, defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, 7-6 (4), 7-5.

Sorana Cirstea of Romania beat Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-4, 6-4.

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