Halep, Venus lose in Madrid Open 1st round; Serena, Sharapova advance

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MADRID — Second-seeded Simona Halep and Venus Williams both lost in the opening round of the Madrid Open on Sunday, while top-seeded Serena Williams had a trouble-free debut.

Defending champion Maria Sharapova also advanced after beating Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-3.

Halep, the 2014 French Open finalist, failed to convert two set points in the first set before losing 7-6 (6), 6-3 to Alize Cornet of France.

Serena Williams defeated American Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-1 after breaking her six times to win in less than an hour.

Venus Williams, however, lost to fellow former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 7-5.

Venus, seeded 16th, went up a break at 4-3 in the second set, only for Azarenka to win four of the next five games.

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