The Latest: Serena Williams wins opening match in Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest from the Australian Open on Monday (all times local):
Serena Williams is off to a fast start at the Australian Open.
After losing the opening game, Williams won 10 games in a row and beat Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 on the first day of the tournament. The victory marked the start of Williams’ latest bid for a record-tying 24th major title.
Williams took the court in a colorful one-legged catsuit, and her game looked flashy, too. She lost only nine points on her serve and hit 16 winners.
For the past four years, Williams has been trying to equal Australian Margaret Court’s record for major titles. Williams’ most recent Grand Slam championship came at Melbourne in 2017.
Venus Williams has won a Grand Slam match for the first time since 2019.
Playing in her 21st Australian Open, Williams beat Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2 on the first day of play.
Williams went 0-3 in matches at major tournaments last year. She is playing in her 88th Grand Slam tournament, a women’s record.
At 40, Williams is the oldest woman in this year’s draw and just the sixth player in her 40s to compete at the Australian Open.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has won her opening match at the Australian Open.
Osaka, who won the title in Melbourne two years ago, played the first match of the tournament in Rod Laver Arena and beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2.
The first tournament of this year’s Grand Slam season began after a three-week delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Osaka drew a potential tough opening opponent in Pavlyuchenkova, a Russian ranked 39th who reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne three of the past four years. But Osaka breezed through the first set in 21 minutes and barely slowed after that.
Some said it wouldn’t happen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Some said it shouldn’t happen. Well, the 2021 Australian Open is officially underway.
Naomi Osaka opens play at Rod Laver Arena when she takes on 39th-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a quarterfinalist three of the past four years in Melbourne.
Serena Williams begins her latest bid for a 24th Grand Slam singles title in the following match against Laura Siegemund. Serena's older sister Venus, a seven-time major champion, is first up at Margaret Court Arena against Kirsten Flipkens.
They are among eight women Grand Slam singles titlists playing on the opening day. Others include two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 2019 U.S. Open winner Bianca Andreescu. There were six tuneup tournaments crammed into last week, with top-ranked Ash Barty among the winners of the five finals staged on Sunday.
The tournament is beginning three weeks later than scheduled because of coronavirus quarantine requirements for the players. It started under mostly cloudy skies and a temperature of 17 Celsius (63 Fahrenheit)
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