Serena, Osaka, Halep, Kvitova Cruise In Australian Open; Barty Tuesday
by Staff | February 8th, 2021, 2:29 pm
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The favorites in the women’s draw all rolled in their first matches at the Australian Open Monday in Melbourne.

Serena Williams showed no signs of being 39. She was broken in her first game but them crushed Laura Siegemund winning 10 straight games for 6-1, 6-1 win to go to 76-1 in Grand Slam first round matches.

“This was a good start. Definitely vintage ‘Rena,” said Serena. “It’s definitely good. I think I’m pretty good at pacing myself in a Grand Slam.

“I was happy just to get through it. Wasn’t sure how my serve would be after a little bit of that shoulder, but it’s feeling good, I’m feeling good. So it felt really good.

At age 40, Serena’s sister Venus Williams got through Kirsten Flipkens.

“Winning is always fun,” Williams said after her win. “Never easy. She’s definitely tricky. We’ve had some great battles in the past, as well.”

Naomi Osaka had no issues with 3-time Australian Open quarterfinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova with a 6-1, 6-2 victory, her 15th straight win.

“I was really nervous coming into this match. I know that I’ve played her before and it was really tough,” Osaka said. “I just wanted to play well.”

Former finalist Simona Halep ran through Australian wildcard Lizette Cabreba 6-2, 6-1.

French Open winner Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova and Aryna Sabalenka were also easy winners.

“Basically I felt much better than during my first tournament here, much more confident,” Swiatek said.

“Even though I had some doubts because I played against Arantxa Rus in Rome, and that wasn’t a good match for me, I think I started from a brand-new position. I just wanted to dominate on court, and I did pretty well, so I’m happy.

“I just played good tennis. Maybe I made some decisions that weren’t perfect, like some of the dropshots, but it’s also the first match of the tournament. I hope I’m going to be playing better and better next round.”

Bianca Andreescu made her return after over 450 days away with a tough 3-set win over Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

“After the match I sat down with my team a little bit, and I’m like, ‘Oh, guys, here we go again, those three-setters,’ and they just started laughing because they obviously knew what they were getting themselves into,” Andreescu said.

“But those matches are super good for me in my opinion because it really shows that I can scramble when I really need to, or if there’s some pressure I can dig my way through it somehow. When my back is against the wall, not only today, but I’ve noticed throughout my last couple tournaments in 2019, I’ve been able to pull through with those.”

The big upset on the day was 2016 champion Angelique Kerber going down to American Bernarda Pera 6-0, 6-4. Pera won the first nine games against her fellow lefty.

“I was feeling this at the beginning, that of course my balls are always a little bit out and I was not feeling the rhythm that I was before the two weeks, to be honest. But what can I do? I tried the best out of it,” said Kerber.

“She played well. She served good in these break points. I had also my chances at the beginning of the second set to make it for 2-1, and I didn’t.”

Today, World No. 1 and Australian hope Ash Barty is in action along with Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza and 2-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

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Top story: Sabalenka Improving At Australian Open While Halep, Swiatek Sharp; Barty v Anisimova Tonight