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Blake, Stosur, Venus Williams advance in Ohio

Monday - 8/12/2013, 11:29pm  ET

Venus Williams, from the United States, returns to Jana Cepelova, from Slovakia, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament on Monday, Aug.12, 2013, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

MASON, Ohio (AP) -- James Blake upset No. 16 seed Jerzy Janowicz 6-1, 7-5 in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday.

The 33-year-old Blake reached the tournament's second round for the second straight year.

Janowicz, ranked 16th, lost in his first appearance at the tournament. He lost to eventual champion Andy Murray in the Wimbledon semifinals.

"He's a really good player," Blake said of Janowicz. "I knew he could be a little up and down. He definitely didn't have his best first set.

"He started out a little slow, and I kind of took advantage, used the momentum, and it came down to taking really good care of my break points. I came up with some good serves and a couple of big forehands, and that was the difference, I think."

Former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur moved into the second round of the tournament with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Stosur, who won the 2011 U.S. Open, lost in the round of 16 at the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week after winning the Southern California Open.

In the first night session match, 37th-ranked Venus Williams lost the first three games before roaring back for a 6-4, 6-1 win over qualifier Jana Cepelova.

Williams was playing just her second match since losing in the first round of the French Open. She lost in the first round of the Rogers Cup at Toronto last week.

"I had a slow start," Williams said. "I was missing shots, but I was being aggressive, so I realized if I had made a few more that it would probably be the other way for me.

"She was really determined, I thought. She just looked really determined and really just energetic. She was definitely going to take it to me, so it was good to turn around and get a win. Feels good, yeah."

Ninth-seeded Angelique Kerber, who lost in last year's finals to Li Na, overcame losing a first-set tiebreaker before rolling through the last two sets in a 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-1 win over qualifier Karin Knapp. American Sloane Stephens outlasted qualifier Petra Martic 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Former top-ranked singles player Martina Hingis and Daniela Hantuchova advanced to the second round in doubles with a 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 win over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Flavia Pennetta.

Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova will compete in the event together for the first time.

The top-ranked Williams, who won the Rogers Cup in Toronto, has never won the Western & Southern, losing in quarterfinals last year to the then-fifth-seeded Kerber.

"I'm motivated and happy and definitely feeling healthy," Williams said Monday.

The second-ranked Azarenka pulled out of the Rogers Cup last week to rest a sore back.

"I feel good," Azarenka said. "The first (tournament) back is always a little challenging to your body."

In men's play, Mardy Fish of the United States lost to 26th-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-2. No. 32 Juan Monaco eliminated 33rd-ranked Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2; 30th-ranked Jeremy Chardy beat qualifier Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-3. No. 20 Janko Tipsarevic bounced back from losing a first-set tiebreaker to defeat 28th-ranked Sam Querrey 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

American Brian Baker -- in his first match since suffering a right knee injury at the Australian Open -- pulled off a 7-5, 6-3 upset of No. 63 Denis Istomin.

"It's great to be back out there, for sure," said Baker, who played in a challenger event last week.

"That's number one. Second tournament back since January, you're always thankful to be back on the court."

Nicolas Almagro became the first seeded player to fall, losing to Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (3), 6-4. Fabio Fognini was upset by Radek Stepanek, 6-2, 6-4.

In the first men's night session match, qualifier David Goffin ousted unranked American Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-1.

In women's upsets, wild card Lauren Davis beat Klara Zakopalova 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1), and wild card Vania King, ranked 140th, stopped No. 38 Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4.

Qualifier Marina Erakovic ousted 20th-ranked Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-4. Also, Alisa Kleybanova, the WTA's 584th-ranked player, outlasted 85th-ranked Sofia Arvidsson for a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7) win.

Simona Halep rallied to defeat Su-Wei Hsieh 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2 and 16th-seeded Maria Kirilenko was pushed to the limit by qualifier Anna Tatishvili before prevailing 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4).

In the other women's night matches, 12th-seeded Roberta Vinci held off No. 52 Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 and No. 62 Canadian Eugenia Bouchard defeated qualifier Monica Puig 6-3, 6-4.

Sharapova won the Western & Southern title in 2011.

The event is her first since losing in the second round at Wimbledon. She's also been bothered by a hip injury.

"Everything is feeling fine," the third-ranked Sharapova said. "I'm at the stage of my career where I have the luxury of making sure. I love playing a full schedule, but I'd rather come in here feeling good and healthy. I haven't played in weeks, so I might be a little rusty."


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