Venus Williams exits in 1st round at Italian Open

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By ANDREW DAMPF, Associated Press

ROME (AP) — Venus Williams lost to Laura Robson 6-3, 6-2 in the wind at the Italian Open on Monday, ending prospects for a sister showdown in the second round.

Serena Williams, who won the Madrid Open on Sunday, watched the match from the stands.

Robson had eight double-faults and Williams six, the gusts complicating play at Foro Italico. Williams' errors came at more inopportune times, with two double-faults in the final game.

The 19-year-old Robson, who won the Wimbledon junior title at 14, is ranked No. 39 — 15 spots below Venus Williams. Next up for Robson is the No. 1 player.

"She's really young, still," said Serena Williams, whose only title at this clay-court tournament came in 2002. "She's just so free and she looks great on the court and she's so smooth and she's a lefty, so that just adds a notch to her whole level. I've never played her before. I've always wanted to. So I have a tough second-round match."

The top eight seeds have first-round byes. This is the last major warmup for the French Open, which starts May 26.

In other matches, ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur cruised past Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan 6-2, 6-3; Sabine Lisicki of Germany eliminated American qualifier Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-2; and Italian wild card Nastassja Burnett defeated 2008 finalist Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 6-2.

Among the men, 11th-seeded Marin Cilic beat Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-2 and Italian wild card Potito Starace rallied past Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to set up a match against second-seeded Roger Federer.

Tenth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic withdrew because of bronchitis, with Lukas Rosol taking his place in the draw.

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