KEY BISCAYNE,Florida : Serena Williams overcame some sloppy play to reach the fourth round at the Sony Open by beating Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 on Saturday.
Williams is playing in her first tournament after a monthlong layoff, and rustiness may explain her 41 unforced errors, including seven double-faults. And Garcia kept Williams on her heels with deep groundstrokes and serves that topped out at 117 mph (189 kph).
Some of their side-to-side baseline exchanges had the stadium crowd roaring, and Williams needed 2 1/2 hours to complete the victory. But she finished in a hurry, serving out the final game at love with the help of consecutive aces.
Ranked No. 1, Williams is playing for the 14th time at Key Biscayne, an hour from her home in Palm Beach Gardens. She won the event for the first time in 2002 and tied Andre Agassi's record of six titles last year.
In men's play, Stanislas Wawrinka bounced back from his first loss of the year by beating Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 after a first-round bye.
Wawrinka, who won the Australian Open in January, improved to 14-1 this year. His lone defeat came last week in the fourth round at Indian Wells to Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Wawrinka has never reached the quarterfinals in five previous appearances at Key Biscayne, but then he has never been ranked this high.
"I'm No. 2 in the world," he said. "I know that if I play my best tennis I can be a favorite of the tournament. I know how well I can play."
Wawrinka hit 33 winners against Gimeno-Traver and shook off some sloppy play midway through the match.
"I was negative in the second set, a little bit stupidly, but then I'm really happy the way I start the third set," Wawrinka said. "First one here, it's never easy. The condition was really slow today, really humid. You need to get through."
No. 7 Tomas Berdych joined Wawrinka in the third round by beating Stephane Robert of France 7-6 (5), 6-1.
Ana Ivanovic advanced to the fourth round by beating Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-4, 6-3, improving to 5-1 this year against top-20 players.
Angelique Kerber, seeded No. 5, defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-2, and No. 8 Petra Kvitova beat Croatian qualifier Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4.
Sabine Lisicki of Germany withdrew because of the flu, giving Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium a walkover. Ekaterina Makarova of Russia beat No. 9 Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Seeded men eliminated included Jerzy Janowicz of Poland and Marin Cilic of Croatia.