Subpar Serena Williams battles into third round

New York Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:50pm EDT

Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain during their women's singles match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain during their women's singles match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York August 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

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New York (Reuters) - American Serena Williams survived a rare bad day on the courts as she beat Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez to claim a place in the third round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.

The Wimbledon and Olympic champion, an overwhelming favorite for the title, needed 82 minutes to dig out a 6-2 6-4 victory over 30-year-old Martinez Sanchez.

Williams began well enough, winning 12 straight points as she led 4-1 but struggled thereafter, double-faulting six times and making a host of simple mistakes.

Martinez Sanchez could not capitalize, squandering a 2-0 lead in the second set as Williams battled through to face Ekaterina Makerova of Russia.

(Writing by Simon Cambers; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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