Charleston, SC (Sports Network) - Former champion Venus Williams was an opening-round winner Tuesday at the $740,000 Family Circle Cup tennis event.
The unseeded former world No. 1, a wild card this week, handled Czech qualifier Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-3 on the green clay at Family Circle Tennis Center.
Williams, who titled here in 2004, advanced in 1 hour, 19 minutes with the help of six aces and three service breaks. She'll face seventh-seeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic on Wednesday. The Serbian Jankovic was the Charleston titlist in 2007 and runner-up in 2005.
Meanwhile, a second-round win came for fourth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva, as the two-time Grand Slam runner-up routed Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 6-1 in a mere 50 minutes. Zvonareva was the champion here two years ago, the same year she reached major finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
In some first-round action involving seeds, No. 12 Belgian Yanina Wickmayer drubbed American Vania King 6-4, 6-3, No. 13 Russian Nadia Petrova pasted Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque Marino 6-1, 6-2, and No. 17 Marina Erakovic of New Zealand zipped past Czech qualifier Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-4. The former top-10 player Petrova was the Charleston champ back in 2006.
Additional opening-round wins came for Georgian Anna Tatishvili, Kazakhstani qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova and Americans Jill Craybas and Varvara Lepchenko. The 37-year-old qualifier Craybas snuck past Uzbekistani qualifier Akgul Amanmuradova 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (8-6), while Lepchenko outlasted Belarusian Anastasiya Yakimova 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 on Day 2.
This week's titlist will claim $115,000.