Venus Williams, chasing a third successive tournament victory after wins in Charleston and Warsaw, overcame the tough Greek Eleni Daniilidou at the German Open here, winning 7-5, 6-3 in a rain-delayed match.
The former world No 1, recovering her best form after a string of injuries, stepped up a gear after a sluggish start, taking control with a break in the eighth game of the second set.
"I was a little bit off today, I thought. But I was able to raise my game at the right moments and I'm pleased with that," Williams said after extending her winning streak to 12 matches.
The world No 2, Kim Clijsters, struggled on her return after three weeks with a wrist injury, needing three sets to beat the Spaniard Marta Marrero 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The second seed Amelie Mauresmo eased past the Argentinian Gisela Dulko 6-1, 6-2.