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Serena avoids bagel, then cruises at China Open

BEIJING (AP) — Serena Williams narrowly avoided a bagel against Spanish qualifier Silvia Soler-Espinosa, then won 13 of the next 15 games to pull out a 7-5, 6-2 victory Monday in the first round of the China Open.

Williams looked lethargic and flat-footed at the start, dropping serve three times to fall behind 5-0 in only 15 minutes. She saved a set point in the next game and cruised the rest of the way.

The last player to bagel Williams was another Spaniard, Anabel Medina Garrigues, last year in Madrid. Williams won that match 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.

On the men’s side, U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic played his first match since winning his only Grand Slam title this month and beat Chinese wild-card entry Bai Yan 6-3, 6-4.

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