Australian Open

Serena's history chase begins with quick win

2020-01-20 06:48
Serena Williams (AP)
Serena Williams (AP)

Melbourne - Serena Williams blitzed the first set in just 19 minutes as she launched her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title with a quickfire demolition of Anastasia Potapova at the Australian Open on Monday.

The 38-year-old American, wearing a lilac dress and matching trainers, and sporting heavily decorated fingernails, powered past the Russian teenager 6-0, 6-3 in 58 minutes.

The eighth seed plays Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia in round two in an expectant Melbourne, where she can equal the all-time record of Grand Slam titles.

Williams comes into Melbourne in ominous form after breaking her three-year title drought with victory in Auckland - her first since becoming a mother to two-year-old daughter Olympia.

Olympia watched her mother win the title last week, and Williams said after easing to victory over Potapova: "It (Auckland) was really special for me and her (Olympia) - I hope for her."

But the American legend, speaking to an adoring crowd at the 15 000-capacity Rod Laver Arena, admitted that Olympia "just cares about Play-Doh".

"I try to tell her I'm someone, you know," she joked.

"(But) I am just known about town as Olympia's mom - I love that."

Williams threatened to blow away the 18-year-old Potapova - who was temperamental at times - in embarrassingly rapid fashion.

But the 90th-ranked Russian, overawed in the first set, fought back and broke Williams's serve in the second, helped by some sloppiness from the American.

Williams double-faulted to go down a surprise 2-1, but there was never a hint of an upset as the American broke back before pulling away to an easy win.

There is huge pressure on Williams as she eyes the record Grand Slam haul of Australia's Margaret Court.

Since winning the title in Melbourne in 2017 she has lost four Slam finals, each time failing to even win a set.

Williams, the highest-earning female in sport, was pregnant with Olympia when she lifted the Melbourne crown three years ago.

There is a fierce focus on Williams' latest bid for tennis history at the Australian Open, and she knows it.

"Now it's just more or less about doing the best that Serena Williams can do," she said.

"Margaret Court was a wonderful, great champion, and now how great is Serena Williams? That's it.

"That's kind of what I have been thinking about the last couple of weeks and months, it definitely helps me relax a lot."

Williams laughed off a tweet by reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in which the 22-year-old posted a picture of them together and playfully described the American as "my mom".

"Definitely not the mom, though, definitely more or less cousin?" said Williams.

Collated results on day one of the Australian Open Grand Slam at Melbourne Park on Monday:

Men's singles

1st round

Matteo Berrettini (ITA x8) bt Andrew Harris (AUS) 6-3, 6-1, 6-3

Ricardas Berankis (LIT) bt Roberto Carballes (ESP) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

Sam Querrey (USA) bt Borna Coric (CRO x25) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Guido Pella (ARG x22) bt John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

Gregoire Barrere (FRA) bt Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)

Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Denis Shapovalov (CAN x13) 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-1, 7-6 (7/3)

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x18) bt Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-4

Daniel Evans (GBR x30) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3

Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) bt Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1)

Roger Federer (SUI x3) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x6) bt Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-0, 6-2, 6-3

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bt Marcos Giron (USA) 7-5, 6-1, 6-2

Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1

Women's singles

1st round

Zhu Lin (CHN) bt Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10/5)

Julia Georges (GER) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-1, 6-2

Petra Martic (CRO x13) bt Christina McHale (USA) 6-3, 6-0

Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS x25) bt Jil Teichmann (SUI) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST) 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-3

Paula Badosa (ESP) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-1, 6-0

Petra Kvitova (CZE x7) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-1, 6-0

Naomi Osaka (JPN x3) bt Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-2, 6-4

Zheng Saisai (CHN) bt Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-3, 6-2

Sorana Cirstea (ROU) bt Barbora Strycova (CZE x32) 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)

Ann Li (USA) bt Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (12/10)

Sofia Kenin (USA x14) bt Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-2, 6-4

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Kristie Ahn (USA) 6-1, 6-3

Tamara Zidansek (SLO) bt Han Na-lae (KOR) 6-3, 6-3

Serena Williams (USA x8) bt Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-0, 6-3

Ashleigh Barty (AUS x1) bt Lesya Tsurenko (UKR) 5-7, 6-1, 6-1

Coco Gauff (USA) bt Venus Williams (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3

Caty McNally (USA) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS) 6-1, 6-4

Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Sloane Stephens (USA x24) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2


 

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