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Venus Williams Wins U.S. Open 1st Round Match Over Bethanie Mattek-Sands

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Venus Williams returns a shot to Bethanie Mattek-Sands during the first round at the 2012 US Open, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.
Venus Williams returns a shot to Bethanie Mattek-Sands during the first round at the 2012 US Open, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.

NEW YORK -- Venus Williams overcame an early deficit for an easy win in her return to the U.S. Open.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion pulled out of the tournament before her second-round match last year because of an autoimmune disease. Williams was back Tuesday, and she beat fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-1.

Williams, unseeded with a ranking of No. 46, was broken in her first game. But after going down 0-2 in the first set, she won 12 of the last 14 games.

She'll next face sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber.

Mattek-Sands is ranked 212th after a series of injuries this year and got in on a wild card.

At age 32, Williams has been learning to deal with the effects of Sjogren's syndrome, which causes exhaustion and joint pain.

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