Serena Williams had a wobbly begin on the Australian Open — for one sport.
After briefly falling behind, Williams swept 10 consecutive video games and beat Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 on the primary day of the event Monday.
The victory marked the beginning of Williams’ newest bid for a record-tying 24th main title. As she left the court docket she flexed her biceps, and later she donned a T-shirt that learn “Unstoppable Queen.”
“This was a great begin — classic ’Rena,” she mentioned. “It’s undoubtedly good. I’m fairly good at pacing myself at a Grand Slam.”
Williams wore a colourful one-legged catsuit that she mentioned was impressed by former Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner, and her sport regarded flashy, too. She misplaced solely 9 factors on her serve and hit 16 winners, and confirmed no indicators of the appropriate shoulder challenge that led her to drag out of a tuneup event.
She wasn’t the primary Williams to achieve the second spherical, nonetheless. Her sister, Venus, received a Grand Slam match for the primary time since 2019.
Enjoying in her 21st Australian Open, the elder Williams beat Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2. At 40, Venus is the oldest lady on this yr’s draw and simply the sixth participant in her 40s to compete on the Australian Open.
“I like my job,” she mentioned. “It doesn’t matter what occurs to you in life, you at all times maintain your head up excessive and provides 100 million p.c. And that’s what I do each single day, and that’s one thing I might be pleased with.”
Three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, who received the title in Melbourne two years in the past, performed the opening match in Rod Laver Enviornment and beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2.
“Bodily I really feel like everybody, their our bodies are shocked, coming in and enjoying so all of the sudden after such an extended break,” Osaka mentioned. “I believe we’re all getting used to it and everyone seems to be simply pleased to be right here.”
That features the Williams sisters.
“Hear, that is superb,” Serena mentioned. “Final yr was very scary for the world. To have the ability to do what I like and be capable to come out and compete . . . it makes me respect the second much more.”
Canadian Rebecca Marino, a former top-40 participant competing in a Grand Slam occasion for the primary time in eight years, beat wild-card entry Kimberly Birrell 6-0, 7-6 (9). Marino was sidelined by melancholy and a severe foot harm.
No. 23 Angelique Kerber, a three-time main champion and 2016 Australian Open winner, misplaced to American Bernarda Pera 6-0, 6-4.
In early males’s play, No. 14-seeded Milos Raonic defeated Federico Coria 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. American Reilly Opelka hit 18 aces and beat Lu Yen-hsun 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Serena Williams overpowered Siegemund, moved nicely and saved one in all her finest pictures for the ultimate sport, racing ahead to flip an off-balance backhand off her shoestrings for a cross-court winner.
For the previous 4 years, Williams has been making an attempt to equal Australian Margaret Courtroom’s report of 24 main titles. Williams’ most up-to-date Grand Slam championship got here at Melbourne in 2017.
“I’ve had a ton of strain, and now I don’t really feel it anymore,” she mentioned. “It’s like an enormous aid. I believe I used to be simply taking a look at it all of the improper means previously, and I really feel completely completely different about it now.”
Osaka drew a possible powerful opening opponent in Pavlyuchenkova, a Russian ranked 39th who reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne three of the previous 4 years.
However Osaka breezed by the primary set in 21 minutes and barely slowed after that. She completed with extra winners than errors and misplaced solely 5 factors on her first serve.
As much as 30,000 followers — about 50% of capability — will probably be allowed on the event web site, however seats had been largely empty for the early matches on a cool day.
“I’m simply actually pleased to see individuals within the stands,” Osaka mentioned.