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Serena beats Krajicek to reach second round

5/15/2007 - Tennis

ROME -- Serena Williams overcame a slow start before beating
Michaella Krajicek 6-4, 6-1 Tuesday in the second round of the
Italian Open.

Williams, who had a trainer attend to her left thigh after the
first set, improved to 17-2 this year.

"I kept missing and hitting balls out. I wasn't playing my game
at all. I was letting her dictate play," Williams said. "But it
was a good start. I got to run. She moved me a lot."

Among those advancing in the first round were No. 14 seed Patty
Schnyder, No. 15 Katarina Srebotnik and No. 16 Tathiana Garbin.

Schnyder, a Rome finalist two years ago, beat Vasilis Bardina
6-1, 6-2. Srebotnik defeated Martina Mueller 6-4, 6-2 and Garbin
eliminated fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Williams hadn't played since pulling out of the Fed Cup match
with Belgium last month, citing a right knee injury. She had
trouble gaining her footing on the red clay and gave up an early
break to fall behind in the first set. The former No. 1 was late
getting to the ball and appeared winded after several long points.

"I came out flat. I don't think I warmed up enough inside and
she was playing really well," Williams said.

Williams started to gain rhythm and hit several backhands to
break back and pull to 4-4, then applied more pressure during
Krajicek's next service game to break again and win the set.

After Williams took a 4-1 lead in the second set, Krajicek
called for the trainer for an apparent right shoulder problem.

Williams ended with 25 winners to Krajicek's 10.

Two more top-10 players withdrew with injuries Tuesday: No. 7
Nicole Vaidisova and No. 8 Ana Ivanovic.

Vaidisova, who was seeded fourth, has a right wrist injury that
kept her out of last week's German Open.

Ivanovic has a left ankle injury. She reached her career-high
ranking by winning the German Open, and was to be seeded 12th.

Top-ranked Justine Henin did not enter the event, No. 2 Maria
Sharapova pulled out with a right shoulder injury and defending
champion Martina Hingis withdrew with hip and back injuries.

Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo, a two-time Rome champion, will play
Samantha Stosur on Wednesday.