Venus Williams loses first match since Australian Open final

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) " Venus Williams lost her first match since the Australian Open to Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-1 in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Thursday.

Seeded fourth, Williams showed none of the spark which took her to the Australian Open final last weekend, failing to record a single winner in the opening set compared to 15 for her French opponent.

Mladenovic broke the tired-looking Williams in the first game of the second set and swiftly wrapped up the second-round win. Williams received a bye in the first round.

In the quarterfinals, Mladenovic meets defending St. Petersburg champion Roberta Vinci, who beat Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4. Vinci, the sixth-seeded Italian, was broken twice in the first set.

Also, second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia cruised past Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-2, 6-2 and into the quarterfinals.

Cibulkova will play fifth-seeded Russian Elena Vesnina, who progressed by defeating France's Alize Cornet 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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