Samantha Stosur of Australia reacts after her victory against Petra Martic of Croathia during the first day of the WTA Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open Tennis on May 5, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
© Pablo Blazquez Dominguez
MADRID (AP) -- Venus Williams held off a late surge by Simona Halep to win 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (6) in the first round of the Madrid Open on Saturday.
The seven-time major winner hit three aces and broke the Romanian twice en route to taking the first set.
But Halep rallied to take the second set before Williams edged her out in the decisive tiebreaker.
Fifth-seeded Sam Stosur also needed three sets to beat Petra Martic.
Stosur saved six break points to claim the tight contest from the Croatian, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (5).