Charleston, SC – Former champions Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Samantha Stosur were all winners Tuesday at the $740,000 Family Circle Cup tennis event.
Serena, who titled here in 2008, was the runner-up in 2003 and is the fifth seed this year, powered her way into the third round, smacking 11 aces and saving 6-of-7 break opportunities by her opponent in a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Russia's Elena Vesnina.
Vesnina was the runner-up in this tournament last year, losing to Caroline Wozniacki in the finale.
The unseeded former world No. 1 Venus, a wild card this week, handled Czech qualifier Iveta Benesova, 6-4, 6-3 in a first-round matchup on the green clay at Family Circle Tennis Center.
Venus, who titled here in 2004, advanced in 1 hour, 19 minutes with the help of six aces and three service breaks. The veteran American will face seventh-seeded fellow former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic on Wednesday. The Serbian Jankovic was the Charleston titlist in 2007 and runner-up in 2005.
The second-seeded U.S. Open titlist Stosur, meanwhile, made fairly quick work of Jamie Hampton, as the ultra-fit Aussie dismissed her American counterpart, 6-0, 7-5, in 79 minutes in a second-round affair on Day 2.
Stosur, who enjoyed an opening-round bye this week, was the Charleston champ two years ago.
In some other second-round play, fourth-seeded two-time Grand Slam runner-up Vera Zvonareva routed Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-1, 6-1 in a mere 50 minutes, while eighth-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova overcame capable Greek Eleni Daniilidou, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. The Russian Zvonareva was the champion here two years ago -- the same year she reached major finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The lone seeded player ousted was No. 10 Spaniard Anabel Medina Garriues, who dropped a 7-5, 6-3 second-round decision to Australia's Anastasia Rodionova in just over two hours.
In some first-round action involving seeds, No. 12 Belgian Yanina Wickmayer drubbed American Vania King, 6-4, 6-3, No. 13 Russian Nadia Petrova pasted Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque Marino, 6-1, 6-2, and No. 17 Marina Erakovic of New Zealand zipped past Czech qualifier Karolina Pliskova, 6-2, 6-4. The former top-10 player Petrova was the Charleston champion in 2006.
Additional opening-round wins came for Georgian Anna Tatishvili, Kazakhstani qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova, and Americans Jill Craybas and Varvara Lepchenko. The 37-year-old qualifier Craybas snuck past Uzbekistani qualifier Akgul Amanmuradova, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (8-6), while Lepchenko outlasted Belarusian Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
This week's titlist will claim $115,000.