Venus Williams wins through at Aegon International

Venus Williams
Williams has slipped to number 32 in the world rankings

Five-time champion Venus Williams continued her Wimbledon preparations with a 6-3 6-2 defeat of Ana Ivanovic at the Eastbourne Aegon International.

The American, 31 on Friday, has dropped to 33 in the world rankings but will be seeded 23rd at SW19 next week following withdrawal of Kim Clijsters.

Williams has been sidelined since the Australian Open in January because of abdominal and hip injuries.

She needed just over an hour to oust former world number one Ivanovic.

Having marked her return with a 7-5 5-7 6-3 victory over Germany's Andrea Petkovic on Monday, she looked sharper against Ivanovic, breaking her opponent's serve four times.

"Obviously, it's great, no breaks of serve. That's ideal for me in the match," she said.

"To get a double break at the end just feels awesome. I was really happy to have those clean service games and not a lot of errors."

It was not all good news for the Williams family, however, with Serena beaten 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 5-7 by top seed Vera Zvonareva in a match lasting three hours 12 minutes.

Playing for the first time in a year after two operations on a foot she cut after last year's Wimbledon followed by further surgery in February to remove blood clots from her lungs, Williams was serving for the match at 6-4 5-4 but double-faulted after two net cords.

The 29-year-old, who hit 59 winners, fought back from 5-2 down in the deciding set and saved three match points at 4-5, but Zvonareva immediately broke again and secured only her second victory in eight completed matches against the American.

"It was definitely a tough match, Serena is a great champion and played some unbelievable tennis after a year not playing. A lot of respect to her," 26-year-old Zvonareva said.

"I was really happy with the way I played today and that I won this match."

Despite the defeat Serena was also pleased with her progress as she prepares to defend her Wimbledon title and said: "It was a good two matches for me. I couldn't be happier with the amount of tennis I played so it's good, just keep going.

"I haven't played in almost a year so I'm a little sore. But it's good that I'm sore now because hopefully next week. I won't be as sore. (The foot) is holding up really well and I'm just really excited about that."

Fourth seed Francesca Schiavone was another casualty, losing 6-3 6-2 to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

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