Two-time U.S. Open winner Venus Williams was tested by unseeded Monica Puig but prevailed in three sets yesterday to give the Williams family a positive start on opening day.

Williams, seeded No. 23, battled to a 6-4 6-7(7) 6-3 victory over her gritty 21-year-old opponent in a two-hour, 40-minute contest at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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"I give so much credit to my opponent," said Williams, who blasted home 18 aces and powered in 48 winners, cranking her serves up to 124 miles per hour. "It seemed like every time I got close, she came up with unbelievable shots.

Williams carried a 64-13 U.S. Open record into the match, with career earnings of over $31 million, while Puig was 1-2 in her previous two appearances in the main draw at Flushing Meadows with career earnings of just over $1 million.