Wimbledon champ Rybakina cops early defeat

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Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has suffered a setback as she starts her US Open build up, ousted in the first round of the Silicon Valley Classic in Calfornia.

Playing for the first time since her grand slam title breakthrough in London, Kazakhstan's world No.23 Rybakina was beaten by Russia's Daria Kasatkina 1-6 6-2 6-0 in San Jose on Monday.

Eighth seed Karolina Pliskova advanced to the round of 16 after a 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 victory against Brit Katie Boulter.

America's Madison Keys beat Zhang Shuai of China 6-4 6-2 but Australia's Storm Sanders was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Taylor Townsend.

At the Washington Open, former world No.1 Venus Williams returned to singles action for the first time in 2022.

The 42-year-old American had not played a WTA singles match since losing to Su-Wei Hseih in Chicago on August 23, 2021. It showed as she was beaten in three sets by Canadian Rebecca Marino.

Seven-time grand slam champion Williams, watched in the stands by younger sister Serena, lost 6-4 1-6 4-6 in one hour 52 minutes.

"Just a little rusty," Williams told reporters. "I really put myself in good positions in the third set, too. Just trying to shake off some rust. That's just to be expected. All I can do is just play another tournament and play better."

Earlier fellow former No.1 Simona Halep advanced, beating Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-3 7-5 .

"I had a good run in Wimbledon, so it's always tough to start," Halep said of changing to hard-court surfaces after the grass-court season.

"But I'm really happy I won the match and I can play another match here."

Australia's Daria Saville is also into the second round after defeating Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) while world No.7 Jessica Pegula, the defending champion and No.1 seed, was a 6-2 6-2 winner over fellow American Hailey Baptiste.

Saville will face Pegula in the next round.

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