- Serena Williams wins first clay court match in almost two years
- She beat Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina 6-3 6-4
- Williams to face either Marina Erakovic or Anna Tatishvili in third round
- Venus Williams continues campaign in second round
Serena Williams is looking forward to the new clay season after scoring her first win on the surface in almost two years.
The fifth seed is hoping her decisive win over Russia's Elena Vesnina at the season's clay court opener in Charleston will help her build up to the French Open starting late May.
Williams last played on clay at Roland Garros in 2010. But that didn't stop her defeating Vesnina 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday.
The American fired 11 aces and broke serve three times against the U.S. event's 2011 finalist Vesnina. The win takes her through to the third round of the WTA's Family Circle Cup, where she he will next face either New Zealander Marina Erakovic or Georgian Anna Tatishvili.
The last time Williams played at Charleston was in 2008, when she won the title.
"I really love the clay," Williams said on the WTA website.
"I feel like it suits my game. I don't have to go crazy and move my feet so much. And it's no different from hard or grass -- I should be able to play the same and do the same, if not better, because I have more time."
Williams' 11th ace came at the most critical time -- match point. The former world number one, who is back in the top 10 after making the quarterfinals in Miami last week, admitted she managed to beat Vesnina despite eating too much before the match.
"Unfortunately I had some banana pudding before I went out. I don't know why I did that. It was so good though," she said.
"I keep tweeting how I'm having so much trouble with the food. That's actually my Achilles heel, soul food and southern food. Maybe that's why it's been four years since I've been here."
Her sister Venus also made her clay return earlier on Tuesday, defeating the Czech Republic's Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-3.
Venus, who won the tournament in 2004, is currently 87th in the world after a long absence due to illness. She made hard work of dispatching Benesova in little under one-and-a-half hours.
The victory put Williams into the second round as she continues her recovery from Sjogren syndrome, an auto-immune disorder.
Australian second seed Sam Stosur joined Serena in the third round after defeating American wildcard Jamie Hampton 6-0 7-5.
Russian fourth seed Vera Zvonareva also went through after beating Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1 6-1.
Her eighth-seeded compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova came from behind to defeat Eleni Daniilidou 3-6 6-4 6-4 to also earn a place in the third round.
However Spanish tenth seed Anabel Medina Garrigues became the first high-profile casualty of the tournament, losing 7-5 6-3 to 98th ranked Australian Anastasia Rodionova.