WTA WTA roundup: Venus Williams loses in singles return

Venus Williams returned to singles action for the first time in nearly a year on Monday, but she immediately fell at the Citi Open in Washington.

Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino rallied past Williams 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in first-round action. Marino, 31, is ranked 111th in the world, while Williams, 42, is currently unranked due to her long absence.

Williams hadn’t played singles on tour since last August in Chicago. The rust showed on her serve as she racked up 13 double faults and just three aces. Marino had 10 aces and two double faults.

Another former world No. 1 player was in action on Monday, and third-seeded Simona Halep of Romania downed Spain’s Cristina Bucsa 6-3, 7-5.

Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova ousted fifth-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Other first-round winners included sixth-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, Australia’s Daria Saville, the United States’ Jessica Pegula and China’s Lin Zhu. Croatia’s Donna Vekic eliminated seventh-seeded Mayar Sherif of Egypt 6-4, 6-1.

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Eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic rallied to beat Great Britain’s Katie Boulter, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the first round at San Jose, Calif.

After dropping the first set, Pliskova went up 5-1 in the second set but twice lost games while serving for the set. After claiming the tiebreaker to level the match, Pliskova got through a rocky third set that featured five service breaks.

Four U.S. players, Amanda Anisimova, Madison Keys, Taylor Townsend and Elizabeth Mandlik, won their opening matches. Seventh-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia came from behind to beat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.

–Field Level Media

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