Serena Williams advances at Key Biscayne

Updated: Mar 22, 2013, 13:37 PM IST

Key Biscayne: Playing again at No. 1, Serena Williams routed Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday in the second round of the Sony Open.

Williams is playing her first tournament since she regained the No. 1 ranking at the Qatar Open. She lost the Doha final to Victoria Azarenka, but overtook her for the top ranking the week of Feb. 11.

Williams trailed 40-0 in the first and fifth games in the first set, but went on to hold serve both times. In the first game, she uncharacteristically double-faulted on the first and third points.

``I don`t think it was too much rust,`` Williams said. ``I think I missed a few shots, but only because I was off footwork-wise. It`s always just good to win a match and stay in the tournament and keep going.``

Williams is trying to break the tournament record of five titles she shares with Steffi Graf.

``That would be really cool,`` Williams said. ``I have a lot of matches to play. If I can just stay relaxed, I really feel like I can do it, but I`m sometimes my own worst enemy.``

Venus Williams had a much tougher road to the third round than her younger sister.

The 18th-ranked Venus Williams eventually prevailed 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4 over 78th-ranked Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, at 42 the oldest player on the women`s tour.

In a match that kept fans cheering for 2 hours, 31 minutes, the 32-year-old Venus Williams finally took advantage of her match point. At ad-out with Date-Krumm serving at 4-5, Venus Williams hit a winning backhand passing shot down the line.

Date-Krumm saved six match points - one on her own serve in the eighth game, and then five when Venis Williams was serving for the match at 5-3.

``The toughest part is when you reach the finish line and you`re not able to get across,`` Venus Williams said. ``Really it`s credit to her as she really hit amazing shots. I was pretty determined out there and one (match point) had to come through if I kept putting myself in that position.``

Venus Williams will play Sloane Stephens, who rallied to beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. Stephens is ranked 16th, the highest-ranked American after Serena Williams.

Stephens won only four points in her three service games and 10 points overall in the opening set.

``I wasn`t playing that great,`` Stephens said. ``I was asleep out there. I definitely just needed to wake up and start playing. A lot just battling and just hanging in there.``

Poland`s Agnieszka Radwanska, the defending champion who is seeded fourth, defeated Taiwan`s Su-Wei Hsieh 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.

``Just very happy to have a quick match,`` Radwanska said. ``The first match is always a little bit tough and tricky.``