Venus advances; Stephens falls in Dubai

12:37 PM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates ( - Two-time champion Venus Williams was a first-round winner, while her promising fellow American Sloane Stephens exited the draw Monday at the $2 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 33-year-old former world No. 1 Williams handled Russian Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-2, while Stephens gave way to Czech Lucie Safarova 6-3, 7-5 on the hardcourts at Dubai Tennis Stadium.

Williams titled here back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

Also on Day 1, Ekaterina Makarova outlasted fellow Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 and Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro handled former top-10 Russian Nadia Petrova 6-3, 6-2.

This week's top seed is reigning U.S. and French Open champion Serena Williams, who will open her Dubai stay against Makarova after enjoying an opening-round bye.

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, seeded third this week, beat former French Open finalist Sara Errani in last year's Dubai finale.

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