Serena strolls, Clijsters pulls out of Toronto


Former world number one Serena Williams wasn’t letting the lack of a seeding slow her down Tuesday as she crushed Alona Bondarenko to reach the second round of the WTA Toronto hardcourt tournament.
Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam champion, steam-rolled Ukraine’s Bondarenko 6-0, 6-3. Second-seeded Kim Clijsters had put herself on the path to a victory as well but retired injured from her second-round match against China’s Zheng Jie.
It was another setback for the Australian Open champion from Belgium, who injured her right ankle in April and then pulled out of tournaments in Rome and Madrid with right shoulder and wrist injuries. Clijsters, the defending women’s champion at the upcoming US Open, also opted not to play in either of the recent California hardcourt tournaments that began the build-up to the last Grand Slam of the year.Clijsters had won the first set 6-3, but with Zheng up 2-1 in the second, Clijsters hit a forehand, shook her head and departed the court. Meanwhile, Williams’ comeback continued to fire on all cylinders. The American lost just four points as she won the first set in 16 minutes and after Bondarenko kept it on serve to 3-3 in the second Williams again hit high gear, winning three games to secure the victory. The match was so quick, it was almost as good as having the first-round bye enjoyed by the top eight seeds.
Williams isn’t among them as she rebuilds a ranking that plummeted after she was sidelined by injury and illness for 11 months. The American has already shown she’ll be a force to be reckoned with now that she’s back, capturing the hardcourt title in Stanford a fortnight ago. Top-seeded Carolina Wozniacki of Denmark was to open her campaign on Wednesday with a second-round match against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Belgian Yanina Wickmayer. Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski advanced when Australian Jelena Dokic retired while trailing 0-2 in their match. Jovanovski booked a meeting with fifth-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova. In other first-round matches, 11th-seeded Andrea Petkovic advanced with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
Poland’s 13th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Russian Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-1, but 16th-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova had to retire against Czech qualifier Iveta Benesova while leading 3-1 in the third set due to a left abdominal strain.