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Serena Williams, Andy Murray advance in opening matches at Cincinnati; No. 3 Kvitova upset

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MASON, Ohio - Top-seeded Serena Williams won an opening match that was as close as it gets, rallying in both tiebreakers to move on at the Western & Southern Open.

Williams needed an hour and 54 minutes to beat Samantha Stosur 7-6 (7), 7-6 (7) on Wednesday, showing a little more poise on the toughest points. There were only two break chances the entire match — both players held serve throughout.

Stosur got up 4-0 in the first tiebreaker before Williams rallied. Stosur had two set points in the second tiebreaker, but hit returns into the net and long to even it. Williams won it when Stosur hit another shot into the net.

On the men's side, Andy Murray needed little more than an hour to get through his opening match. He faced only three break points — and fought all of them off — during a 6-3, 6-3 win over Joao Sousa.

Murray is still trying to get back into form from back surgery last September. He also made a break with coach Ivan Lendl in March that was a big adjustment.

"It's been a tough year," Murray said. "There have been a few things happen. Obviously coming back from surgery is hard. To me now, that isn't in any way an excuse. Now I have had enough time to get over it. Obviously with Ivan, that was also tough."

No. 4 Tomas Berdych converted only one break point while losing to Yen-Hsun Lu 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. John Isner, who reached the finals in Cincinnati last year before losing to Rafael Nadal, moved on with a solid 6-3, 7-6 (1) victory over Marinko Matosevic.

"I played so unbelievably well here last year," Isner said. "I'm off to a very good start this year. I love this tournament. I feel very comfortable here."

There was an upset in the women's draw. Third-seeded Petra Kvitova had trouble with her serve and lost to Elina Svitolina 6-2, 7-6 (2). Kvitova had nine double-faults and made just 52 per cent of her first serves.

"I'm disappointed how I played today, for sure," she said. "From the beginning, I didn't feel very comfortable out there."

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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