Venus Williams kicked off the first Rogers Cup night session of 2017 with a hard-fought 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Romanian qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu in 1h 58 minutes.
The eldest Williams sister took early control of the match with the same explosive groundstrokes that have seen her reach two Grand Slam finals this year. The 37-year-old, who was the runner-up in Montreal three years ago, looked untroubled throughout the first set but was met with firmer resistance in the second set from the Romanian.
Finding more depth on her groundstrokes and drawing more errors from a tired-looking Venus, Begu forced a third set to the delight of an enthusiastic Romanian contingent. However, as has been the case throughout most of 2017, Venus Williams found a higher level in the decider and eventually closed out the win following a lengthy rain delay.