MADRID: Seven-time grand slam-winner Venus Williams crashed out of the Madrid Open here on blue clay Monday.
American wildcard Williams, 31, who is struggling to resurrect her career after a long injury and illness lay-off, went down 6-4, 6-1 to German 12th seed Angelique Kerber in round two.
This year, auto-immune disease-sufferer Williams has pulled out of both the Australian Open and the Malaysian Open, before reaching the quarter-finals in Miami and Charleston.
But her sister Serena Williams went through 6-3, 6-1 in her opening match against Russia's Elena Vesnina, despite the "early" start time of 11:00 am. "I always hate the early starts," she said.
Reigning women's champion Petra Kvitova kick-started her title defence with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.
The third-seeded Wimbledon title-holder, who defeated Victoria Azarenka in straight sets to lift the 2011 trophy, made it into the second round in 67 minutes, firing five aces and producing 28 winners.
There was also smooth progress for China's Li Na, who beat Spanish hope Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-3, 6-1, while US Open champion Samantha Stosur came from a set down to beat Christina McHale 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 in the second round. (AFP)