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Serena, Venus cruise into 3rd round

Serena Williams of the United States hits a return against Samantha Stosur of Australia in the second round of singles tennis in Beijing Tuesday.

Serena Williams of the United States hits a return against Samantha Stosur of Australia in the second round of singles tennis in Beijing Tuesday.

BEIJING – For Serena Williams, the only misstep Tuesday at the Olympics came after her match. Reaching toward a courtside railing to sign autographs, she slipped and nearly fell into the photographers’ pit.

That’s the closest she came to being eliminated. Before the stumble, Williams defeated Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-2, 6-0 in 44 minutes.

Sister Venus soon joined Serena to advance to the third round, beating Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4.

The Williamses are trying to add to the family’s Olympic medal collection. They won the gold in doubles at Sydney in 2000, and Venus won the singles that year.

They’re playing doubles together again in Beijing and had a first-round match scheduled Tuesday night. They could meet in the final of singles Saturday.

No. 1-seeded Mike and Bob Bryan of the United States won their opening match in doubles, defeating Mark Knowles and Devin Mullings of the Bahamas 6-2, 6-1.

Americans Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber won their first-round match, beating Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska of Poland 6-2, 6-1.

With the temperature rising and the sun making its first appearance in the Beijing Games, the stands became a sea of fluttering Chinese fans – the hand-held kind – for Serena Williams’ morning match on cozy Court 1.

She was done before lunch. From 2-2, Williams won 40 of the final 49 points and 10 consecutive games. She whacked service winners, overpowered Stosur from both wings on the baseline and came forward for an overhead slam that prompted an appreciative “Ooooh” from the crowd.

Williams punctuated her best shots with a fist pump. She made the gesture one last time after ripping a backhand return winner on match point, then shouted “Come on!” as she trotted toward the net and into the round of 16.

Williams lost just five points in the second set and dropped only six points on her serve in the match.

Venus Williams struggled with her second serve, hitting six double-faults. But she never faced a break point and lost only two of 24 points on her first serve.

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