(December 31, 2013) In her first official match of the 2014 tennis season, No. 1 Serena Williams dusted off a little rust to stop Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4 at the Brisbane International.
Williams said it was an intense match and gave credit to the rising Petkovic, currently at No. 39 who before multiple injuries had made it to No. 9 in the world.
“It was an intense match, which was really good,” Williams said to media. “She’s a good player. She’s been in the Top 10 before and she was on her way to being even better. So it was a really good match for me.
“I usually have a lot of nerves, but when I realized who I was playing I felt like it was a really good opportunity for me to have a tough match early on. That kind of made me more calm than anything.”
The American is hoping to pick up where she left off last year and she looks to defend last year’s Brisbane title. It began a career season for Williams where she won 11 tournaments, including two majors and went 78-4 for the year.
Next up for Williams will be Dominika Cibulkova.
Third seed Maria Sharapova received a walkover into the quarterfinals from Australian teen qualifier Ashleigh Barty who has a thigh injury.
“It’s been great to play at home in Brisbane and it’s disappointing I won’t be able to play against Maria tomorrow, but I’ve got to do what’s right for my body. Sometimes these are really hard decisions to make but that’s what I have to do,” Barty said.
“The injury has just come about from overload, I’ve played four really tough singles matches in the past week so now it’s just about getting my body right. I’ve got enough time to be fit for the Australian Open, it’s just a matter of managing the injury and hopefully I’ll be back on court soon.”
Barty will also miss next week’s event in Hobart.
Roger Federer debuted a larger racquet as he teamed up with Nicholas Mahut in doubles to beat top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
Federer begins his singles campaign on Wednesday night against Jarkko Nieminen.
ATP Singles – First Round
 F Lopez (ESP) d M Kukushkin (KAZ) 64 64
 J Chardy (FRA) d A Mannarino (FRA) 76(4) 75
[WC] S Groth (AUS) d [Q] R Harrison (USA) 76(3) 76(2)
N Mahut (FRA) d I Sijsling (NED) 36 64 64
L Hewitt (AUS) d [Q] T Kokkinakis (AUS) 63 75
[Q] M Copil (ROU) d [Q] Y Sugita (JPN) 76(5) 67(2) 76(7)
M Ebden (AUS) d *[LL] A Kuznetsov (USA) 63 64
*[LL] A Kuznetsov (USA) replaced [WC] N Kyrgios (AUS) – shoulder
ATP Doubles – First Round
R Federer (SUI) / N Mahut (FRA) d  J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU) 75 76(5)
 J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) d E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) 63 64
WTA Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 64 64
(3) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (Q) Ashleigh Barty (AUS) w/o (left abductor injury)
(4) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 61 63
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (8) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 62 62
(9) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 63 16 63
WTA Doubles – Quarterfinals
(WC) Adamczak/Rogowska (AUS/AUS) d. (3) Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) w/o (Barty: left abductor injury)
Doubles – First Round
(1) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Hantuchova/Lisicki (SVK/GER) 63 64
Groenefeld/Lucic-Baroni (GER/CRO) d. (2) Hsieh/Jankovic (TPE/SRB) 62 63
(3) Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) d. Lepchenko/Olaru (USA/ROU) 61 64
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Amanmuradova/Shvedova (UZB/KAZ) 64 76(4)
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 1 JANUARY 2014
PAT RAFTER ARENA start 11:30 am
ATP – M Matosevic (AUS) vs S Querrey (USA)
ATP –  G Dimitrov (BUL) vs M Cilic (CRO)
ATP – M Ebden (AUS) vs  K Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP –  R Federer (SUI) vs J Nieminen (FIN)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [WC] C Dellacqua (AUS) vs  V Azarenka (BLR)
SHOW COURT 1 start 11:30 am
WTA –  H Chan (TPE) / L Huber (USA) vs M Minella (LUX) / C Scheepers (RSA)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA –  S Lisicki (GER) vs S Voegele (SUI)
WTA –  A Kerber (GER) vs A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP –  J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) vs M Matosevic (AUS) / D Tursunov (RUS)
WTA –  K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs K Mladenovic (FRA) / G Voskoboeva (KAZ)
SHOW COURT 2 start 11:00 am
ATP – D Istomin (UZB) / I Sijsling (NED) vs  M Fyrstenberg (POL) / D Nestor (CAN)
Not Before 12:30 pm
ATP – K Anderson (RSA) / R Lindstedt (SWE) vs  J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – J Chardy (FRA) / G Dimitrov (BUL) vs [PR] C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR)
WTA – A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) vs A Groenefeld (GER) / M Lucic-Baroni