The Associated Press
MASON, Ohio–Serena Williams bounced back from the most lopsided loss of her career, cruising past Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 at the Western & Southern Open today.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner who returned to the tour this year after the birth of her first child, needed just 65 minutes to dispatch Gavrilova.
She’ll face eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in today’s second round.
“You’ve got to be able to go back-to-back,” said Williams, a two-time Cincinnati champion.
“I don’t get byes anymore right now. I’m OK with it,” she added.
Williams lost 6-1, 6-0 to Johanna Konta in San Jose, Calif. before withdrawing from last week’s Rogers Cup in Montreal.
Tenth-seeded Novak Djokovic regrouped after blowing a 3-0 second-set lead to get past Steve Johnson, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
The reigning Wimbledon champion failed to convert eight match points before he finally put Johnson away.
Wild-card Stan Wawrinka, working his way back from two left knee surgeries, advanced with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over 12th-seeded Diego Schwartzman.
In yesterday’s final match, unseeded Alize Cornet stunned 11th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 7-5, 6-0.
Earlier yesterday, Andy Murray lost to Lucas Pouille 6-1, 1-6, 6-4, clearing another obstacle for Roger Federer in this U.S. Open tune-up.
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal dropped out Sunday night to prepare for the U.S. Open after winning his fifth title of the year in Toronto.
Federer, seeded second, has won in Cincinnati a record seven times but hasn’t played here since winning in 2015.
Canadian Denis Shapovalov was among the men’s winners yesterday.