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But then she stumbled, dropping her serve on three forehand errors. Instead of moving her feet, she was reaching for balls and surprised by some of the pace coming from the 145th-ranked Gajdosova.

Williams held to lead 4-3, then slipped and fell onto her bottom on the new blue Plexicushion surface. She got up and regained her focus and momentum.

She won the set with consecutive aces and then dropped just one of her last 16 points on serve and made only five unforced errors in the second set.

Gjadosova double-faulted to set up triple match point, then netted a forehand to finish the match in a little more than an hour.

“Yeah, I’m feeling good,” Williams said after she jogged to the net with her left arm raised, index finger outstretched, to meet Gajdosova. “Most of all, I’m enjoying myself.”

On the men’s side, second-ranked Rafael Nadal, the only player to beat Roger Federer at the last 10 Grand Slams — at the last two French Opens — played Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the night match on center court.

Federer has a start tomorrow (today EST) after a disrupted buildup because of a stomach virus.

In late matches, sixth-seeded Andy Roddick faced Czech qualifier Lukas Dlouhy, and No. 9 Andy Murray had a challenging opener against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

In early men’s matches, No. 24 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland outlasted Canada’s Frank Dancevic 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 2-6, 6-1; No. 23 Paul-Henri Mathieu of France beat Victor Hanescu 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2; and Mardy Fish, who combined with Serena Williams in the United States’ Hopman Cup winning team earlier this month, beat Serbia’s Boris Pashanski.