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Venus, Safarova win opening matches in Dubai

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm •  Published: February 17, 2014

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Venus Williams made good on the wild card she received into the Dubai Championships by posting a 6-3, 6-2 first-round win over Elena Vesnina of Russia on Monday.

The 48th-ranked Williams made her first appearance in Dubai since she won her second straight title here in 2010. She'd missed the last three years either because of injury or Sjogren's Syndrome.

"I definitely don't take for granted any win anymore," Williams said. "Not that I used to because I earned it.

"But now it's even more special."

She fired 10 aces and broke the 33rd-ranked Vesnina four times. Vesnina had won their previous two matchups.

"My serve keeps improving pretty much every tournament," Williams said. "That always helps me."