MONTREAL: Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska rallied to beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-4, 6-4 to become the first player to reach the third round of the WTA Montreal hardcourt tournament on Tuesday.
Radwanska, who lost in her opener in Stanford last week, came into the $2.4 million event at Uniprix Stadium having never lost her opening match in five appearances in this event.
She reeled off four consecutive games to take the first set Tuesday after falling behind 4-2 to start the second round match.
Radwanska was also down an early break in the second set but came back to break Czech Zahlavova Strycova four times in that set en route to the victory.
Radwanska now has a 4-0 career record against Zahlavova Strycova without having lost more than four games in any of their eight sets.
Venus Williams also advanced Tuesday but the world number 26 needed three sets to beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
The unseeded Williams had played four times previously in Canada, losing all four matches.
But against the 22-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, she was able to overcame a second set stumble and advance to the second round where she will face qualifier Yulia Putintseva.
“She’s a dangerous player for the top players because she just can do everything well,” Williams said of Pavlyuchenkova. “It felt good to get through this match and kind of hopefully gain that momentum for the rest of the week.”
In opening-round action that involved former world number ones, ninth-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic drubbed Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-2 and 11th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki slammed Slovak Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 6-1. Ivanovic won here in 2006, while Wozniacki was the 2010 champ.
Another seeded opening-round winner was No. 14 Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who rolled over Serb Bojana Jovanovski 6-4, 6-3.
Former US Open champ and 2011 runner-up in this event Samantha Stosur beat Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig 6-2, 6-2, while American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe cruised past China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-4 to reach the second round.
This week’s top seeds are US Open champion Serena Williams, Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, Radwanska, French Open champ Maria Sharapova and Canadian favorite and Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard.
Last week’s Stanford winner Serena Williams opens her Montreal competition against Stosur, who defeated the American in the 2011 US Open final.