Stosur, Stephens advance in Ohio

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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) — Former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur moved into the second round of the Western & Southern Open with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Monday.

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 — a seven-time Grand Slam champion — 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 on Sunday, has never won the Western & Southern, losing in the 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, while 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 and 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 is the only one of the top three female players to earn a Western & Southern title, winning 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."