World number one Serena Williams got her Madrid Open title defence off to a battling start Sunday, beating Kazakh qualifier Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 but China's Li Na fell at the first hurdle.
Serena Williams in action against Maria Sharapova of Russia during their final match at the Sony Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 30, 2013 in Key Biscayne, Florida. The World No.1 was given a reasonable test in her first match at the Madrid Masters on Sunday against Kazakh qualifier Yulia Putintseva before the American eventually prevailed 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.
Putintseva had come through two rounds of qualifying and seemed to handle the warm conditions better early on in an extremely tight first set.
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