WARSAW, Poland -- Venus Williams overcame leg cramps and an inconsistent serve to beat Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 Thursday in the second round of the J&S Cup.
Martina Hingis, left, and Venus Williams hadn't played since 2002.
It was the first meeting between the former top-ranked players since 2002 in Hamburg, Germany.
"I'm very elated," Williams said. "This is a match that seems like I should have lost toward the end, but I didn't feel that way even though I was in a lot of pain and dire circumstances."
The 13th-ranked Williams received medical treatment for leg cramps at 1-1 in the third set.
Williams played only her third match of the year, having been sidelined since the Australian Open with a strained right elbow. The 25th-ranked Hingis is back on the WTA Tour after an almost three-year hiatus.
Both players struggled with their serve, and both broke twice to open the match.
Hingis held serve to lead 5-4 in the first set, then needed five break points before Williams netted a two-handed backhand.
Trailing 3-1 in the second set, Williams earned a break point when her backhand clipped the net and fell in, then hit a forehand winner to go back on serve.
At 5-4, Williams double-faulted twice to fall to 0-30, but rallied to hold with forehand winners, a Hingis error, and an ace down the middle. She then broke Hingis at 5-5 and served out the set.
"I felt like in the first game of the third set I was finally getting back to normal and hitting my shots and less errors and then boom, here come the cramps," Williams said. "I was thinking, if this keeps happening, hopefully I can move, but I definitely wanted to finish the match."
The players traded breaks early in the third. Tied 4-4, Williams won a break point with a two-handed backhand crosscourt winner, then Hingis hit a backhand long to trail 5-4. Williams served out the match.
Hingis called her own serve "disgusting."
"When she's standing there you get maybe a little intimidated," Hingis said. "I was trying to go for too much and missed it by a little bit."
Also Thursday, Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-1, and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia-Montenegro defeated Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2. Anna Chakvetadze of Russia beat Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-3.