Italian Open: Venus Williams advances, Dinara Safina loses
But it was good enough for a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Patty Schnyder in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome on Tuesday.
Williams had been dealing with a knee problem and hadn't played since losing to Kim Clijsters in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open on April 3. But she had no problem against Schnyder, breaking the Swiss veteran six times.
Defending champion Dinara Safina did not fare as well.
Playing in only her second tournament since the Australian Open in January because of back problems, the former top-ranked Safina lost her opening match to Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
Safina lost in the quarterfinals of last week's Porsche Grand Prix.
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Venus Williams celebrates her win Tuesday. Credit: Ettore Ferrari / Associated Press