On a busy Monday in Melbourne, many of the top women’s stars opened play at their respective tournaments on the grounds of the Australian Open.
Serena Williams made her official 2021 debut thumping for Australian Top 20 Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-1 in the second round of the Yarra Valley Classic. The 39-year-old Serena hit 27 winners to just 15 unforced.
“It was a good match for me. It wasn’t easy at all. It was lots of rallies and lots of movement, and she’s from here, so she obviously always plays hard,” Serena said. “So it was really good and it felt good to clinch that in the end.”
Serena will now meet Bulgarian veteran Tsvetana Pironkova.
Also moving into the third round was Karolina Pliskova. The Czech eased past Italian youngster Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 6-3, 6-2.
Pliskova now has a date with feisty American Danielle Collins.
“We’ve never played, and there aren’t many players like this for me except the young ones,” Pliskova said looking ahead. “It’s going to be an interesting match and I’m looking forward to it. She’s playing well here always every year, so it’s going to be a nice match.”
Other winners on Monday in the YVC event were French Open finalists Marketa Vondrousova and Nadia Podoroska plus Camilia Giorgi, Petra Martic and Vera Zvonareva.
Today, Ash Barty makes her long awaited return. Sofia Kenin battles Giorgi and Petra Kvitova collides with Venus Williams.
In the Gippsland Trophy draw, 16-year-old Coco Gauff survived a tough affair best Jil Teichmann 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(5). Gauff led by a break in the second before the lefty from Switzerland began to assert control in this first round match.
Simona Halep made her debut a strong one beating Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 6-4.
“I needed this victory, because I didn’t play an official match since October of last year, so it’s been a long time,” Halep said. “I just wanted to feel the court, feel the game. I knew that it was going to be a difficult match, hits very strong.”
Other second round winners were Jelena Ostapenko and Elina Svitolina.
On Tuesday at the GT, the streaking Aryna Sabalenka and Naomi Osaka open play in Australia. French Open winner Iga Swiatek also debuts along with Johanna Konta.
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