Serena Williams
Serena Williams was enjoying her a centesimal match on the Australian Open

Serena Williams launched her newest bid for a record-equalling twenty fourth Grand Slam with a 56-minute demolition of Laura Siegemund on the Australian Open.

The American, 39, mentioned it was “vintage Serena” as she thrashed the German 6-1 6-1 in entrance of a small, unmasked crowd on Rod Laver Arena.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka additionally made a convincing begin with a 6-1 6-2 win over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

But former champion Angelique Kerber was the primary seed to be knocked out.

The German twenty third seed, who was one in all 72 gamers to spend 14 days in ‘laborious’ quarantine earlier than the match – confined to a resort room and unable to coach exterior – was overwhelmed 6-0 6-4 by American Bernarda Pera.

Both Williams and Osaka had withdrawn from warm-up occasions final week with shoulder points but neither confirmed any signal of damage as they made swift progress to the second spherical, the place they may also be joined by Williams’ 40-year-old sister Venus, who beat Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 7-5 6-2.

Osaka will play France’s Caroline Garcia subsequent, whereas the elder Williams sister faces veteran Sara Errani.

French Open champion Iga Swiatek raced into the second spherical with a 6-1 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, but US Open quarter-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria misplaced 7-5 6-2 to Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei.

Hseih will subsequent play Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, who beat Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 4-6 6-3 in her first match for 15 months.

The 2019 US Open champion had not performed for 467 days after battling a knee damage.

“I’ve been through quite a bit in those 15 months. It wasn’t easy,” she mentioned.

Serena channels Flo-Jo in speedy win

Williams made a nervy begin in opposition to Siegemund, double-faulting on the primary level of the match earlier than dropping her opening service sport.

However the American, who withdrew from final week’s Yarra Valley Classic semi-final with a shoulder downside, didn’t take lengthy to search out her footing.

She hit 16 winners and 4 aces in opposition to 51st-ranked Siegemund, establishing a second-round assembly with Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic.

Williams wore a one-legged, black, pink and purple catsuit, which she later mentioned was a tribute to late American monitor and discipline icon Florence Griffith-Joyner.

“I was inspired by Flo-Jo, who was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete when I was growing up,” Williams mentioned.

“Watching her fashion, just always changing, her outfits were always amazing.”

No line judges at quiet Melbourne Park

Spectators watch Ons Jabeur and Andrea Petkovic at Melbourne Park
Limited crowd numbers are allowed at Melbourne Park

There are restricted crowd numbers at this yr’s Australian Open, with Victoria’s well being officer giving permission for 25,000-30,000 followers to enter Melbourne Park every day.

The stands appeared sparse, with followers spaced out in keeping with socially distant seating plans.

Melbourne had a 112-day lockdown in October to stop the unfold of Covid-19, with bars, eating places and outlets regularly reopening since then, and there had been concern amongst locals concerning the dangers of internet hosting an occasion with so many worldwide gamers flying into Australia through the pandemic.

There aren’t any line judges on the Australian Open in an try and hold the match bio-secure, with ball-tracking cameras used as a substitute.

Voices name out selections in real-time, with recordings made by Australia’s well being staff, firefighters and different emergency companies personnel as a tribute to their work.

“I feel like if they do want to continue this way, I actually have no complaints about it because I think that there’s a lot of arguments that aren’t going to happen because of this technology,” Osaka mentioned of the choice.

Around the BBC iPlayer bannerAround the BBC iPlayer footer

Source hyperlink


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here