Serena Williams into 2nd round at Australian Open
Serena Williams started the defense of her Australian Open title with a dominating 6-2, 6-1 win Tuesday over Polish teenager Urszula Radwanska.sports Updated: Jan 19, 2010 09:40 IST
Serena Williams started the defense of her Australian Open title with a dominating 6-2, 6-1 win Tuesday over Polish teenager Urszula Radwanska.
Williams also only lost three games in her previous match at Melbourne Park: a 6-0, 6-3 win over now No. 2-ranked Dinara Safina in last year's final.
Despite having her right thigh heavily wrapped with a white bandage, Williams didn't show any signs of restricted movement. The 28-year-old American hurt her left knee at the Sydney International last Friday night and later said she has been bothered by a foot problem.
Williams broke Radwanska in the opening game to set the tone. She broke Radwanska's serve a second time with consecutive backhand winners for a 4-1 lead, then saved breakpoint in the sixth game _ the only one she faced _ in a no-nonsense approach to the match. Even serving for the set at 5-1 and 40-0, she huffed when her forehand landed too long. Next point, she clinched the set with an ace.
Radwanska, an 18-year-old who was making her debut in the maindraw the season's first major, saved three match points before dumping a backhand into the net.
Williams had the vocal backing of the crowd in Melbourne, where she has won the title every odd-numbered year since 2003. "It's such a great experience coming back, especially with my last moment out here holding up the trophy," she said. "It's one of my favorite Slams. I tend to do really well here." Her sister, Venus Williams, was playing later Tuesday against Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
On the men's side, sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko had a 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 win over Dieter Kindlmann of Germany and No. 21 Tomas Berdych advanced 6-0, 6-3, 6-3 over Robin Haase of the Netherlands. No. 9 Fernando Verdasco, who lost to fellow Spaniard and eventual champion Rafael Nadal in a five-set semifinal here last year that was the longest match in the tournament's history, had a 6-7 (4) 7-6 (1), 7-5, 6-2 win over wild card entry Carsten Ball of Australia. Fabrice Santoro extended his Grand Slam career into a fourth decade, but lasted just one match _ a 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 loss to 14th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia.
The 37-year-old Frenchman, who started his Grand Slam career at the 1989 French Open, retired last season but returned to Melbourne Park this year, telling organizers he planned to donate his first-round earnings to charity.
Ana Ivanovic, who reached the Australian Open final and won the French Open in 2008, opened with a 6-2, 6-3 win over American Shenay Perry in the first match to finish Tuesday.
Ivanovic, who has become a crowd favorite Down Under since she began dating Australian professional golfer Adam Scott, saved four break points in the final game before holding serve to take the match in cool, overcast conditions.
"I was pleased with the way I played. The conditions were very tough. It was very cold and windy," Ivanovic said. "But I just tried to work my way through, just taking time, try to stay composed. I thought I played well and served good." The rain that allowed only 26 of the scheduled 64 matches to be completed on the opening day had held off early on day two. In other results, two seeded French players advanced and one went out.
No. 11 Marion Bartoli had a 6-4, 6-1 win over Rosanna de los Rios and No. 26 Aravane Rezai, who lost to Serena Williams in the Sydney International semifinals last week, beat India's Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-2.
No. 18 Virginie Razzano lost 6-2, 6-3 to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova.
No. 13 Samantha Stosur and No. 19 Nadia Petrova went through, along with Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.
Justine Henin made her comeback to Grand Slam tennis on Monday night with a 6-4, 6-3 win over fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in her first match at a major since she lost to eventual champion Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Australian Open. Henin quit in May 2008, while holding the No. 1 ranking, but was inspired to return to the tour when her compatriot Kim Clijsters won the U.S. Open in September _ Clijsters' third tournament back from two years out to get married and have a baby.
Unranked and playing as a wild card entry, Henin will now play a second-round match against fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva, the Olympic champion.
A win over Dementieva could put her on course for a quarterfinal against Clijsters, who opened with a 6-0, 6-4 over Canadian qualifier Valerie Tetreault.
Sharapova lost Monday, her earliest exit at a major in seven years.
Nadal, U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, No. 5 Andy Murray and No. 7 Andy Roddick were among the men who advanced Monday.
Roger Federer was to start his bid for a 16th major title on Tuesday against Igor Andreev. No. 3 Novak Djokovic, the 2008 Australian Open winner, had a night match.