World No. 1 Serena Williams needed all three sets to win her second-round match Wednesday at the $2.37 million Western & Southern Open, a hardcourt U.S. Open tune-up.
Following an opening-round bye, the reigning U.S. and French Open champ lost the opening set against qualifier and rising Canadian Eugenie Bouchard before charging back for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 decision at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. The American needed 1 hour, 47 minutes to advance, which she did with the help of seven aces and six breaks of serve.
Williams, fresh off her title in Toronto last week, will encounter German Mona Barthel in the third round on Thursday.
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded former French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy snuck past Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and seventh-seeded former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova fought off qualifier Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 6-3.
Ninth-seeded German and 2012 Cincy runner-up Angelique Kerber beat Russian Alisa Kleybanova 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, while 11th-seeded former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia handled American Jamie Hampton 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). Stosur was the titlist in Carlsbad two weeks ago.
Also on Day 3, 12th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci held off German qualifier Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 and the aforementioned Barthel vanquished 16th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-4.
This week's winner will earn $426,000. The tournament is part of the U.S. Open Series, or the North American hardcourt events that lead up to the U.S. Open, which will commence August 26.