Serena Williams Makes Her Return to Australian Open with Dominant Win
(January 15, 2019) The last time that Serena Williams played the Australian Open, she was two months pregnant and took home the trophy for her 23rd major title in 2017.
Williams, the No. 16 seed this year in Melbourne opened her quest for a 24th major with an emphatic 6-0, 6-2 win over Germany’s Tatjana Maria. Williams lost a mere five points in the first set which lasted 19 minutes.
It was a battle between two of the mothers on the WTA Tour, Maria lives near William in Florida and the women are good friends and play dates for their daughters.
“I wish we could’ve played each other later on,” Williams said.
Since the birth of her daughter Alexis in September 2017, the 37-year-old Williams has reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open.
“I think the last time I was here, I was pregnant and playing at the same time, which is insane,” Williams said on court. “It’s kind of weird walking back on, by myself this time.”
“Literally the best win of my career,” she said on court.
Williams will play Eugenie Bouchard in the second round.
Venus Williams rallied for a win over the No. 25 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-2.
“It was pretty hairy there,” said the elder Williams. “I hope this match will prepare me for the rest of the tournament.”
Top seed Simona Halep avenged a first round loss to Kaia Kanepi at the US Open, by rallying to beat her in Melbourne in the first round 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2.
US Open champion Naomi Osaka, the fourth seed had her first win at a major as a champion beating Magda Linette 6-4, 6-2.
The top seed on the men’s side, Novak Djokovic overcame an early break to beat American qualifier Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“It feels great to be healthy and back on this court again,” said the six-time winner. “12 months ago it was quite a different sensation on the court with the elbow injury. 12 months forward, obviously things are quite different.
“I had a tremendous success in the last six months. It got me to a great position. Hopefully I can follow up on this victory tonight with a good performance. Hopefully another good match in a few days.”
American Madison Keys began her 2019 with an easy 6-2, 6-2 win over 18-year-old wildcard Destanee Aiava of Australia in the first match on Rod Laver Arena to open Day 2.
“I expected it to be tough,” Keys said about playing an Australian. “Thanks for the love, anyway,” Keys. The 17th seed said to the crowd after the win.
Keys did not play any warm-up tournament before the Australian Open due to a knee injury. The American reached the semifinals of majors three times in the last five majors.
“It’s funny, because in a lot of ways, I felt like I didn’t have the best season (last year), like I wasn’t super happy with it, but there was also moments that I was really proud of where I did do really well,” she said in her news conference. “So it’s one of those things where it’s like I want a more consistent year and I want to do better at some of the smaller tournaments and do all of that, but I still want the slam results. Still trying to figure out where that balance falls, and who knows? Maybe just not playing any warmup tournaments is the way to go.”
Seeded women advancing on Tuesday included: (7) Karolina Pliskova, (12) Elise Mertens, (13) Anastasjia Sevastova, (18) Garbine Muguruza, and (21) Qiang Wang.
The highest seeded woman to lose in the tournament on Tuesday had 10th seed Daria Kasatkina falling to Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 6-0. The Swiss won the last 12 straight games for the victory.
Former finalist Dominika Cibulkova was also a first round seeded casualty. The 26th seed lost to Shuai Zhang 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka lost in the first round loss to Laura Siegemund 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2. Azarenka won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013.
Eighth seed Kei Nishikori escaped a defeat by Polish qualifier, when Kamil Majchrzak was forced to retire in the fifth set with Nishikori leading 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-0, 6-2, 3-0. Majchrzak was up two sets to none before cramps set in.
“I was trying to play better every set, second set playing better but he was still playing amazing tennis, forehand, backhand, serving really well today,” Nishikori said on court after the match. “I didn’t do anything in the fourth set, he was hurt. I feel sorry for him.”
Milos Raonic hit 30 aces in taking out Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4. He’ll take on 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the next round. Wawrinka advanced when his opponent Ernests Gulbis retired with a back injury in the second set.
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev is into the second round. The German defeated Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.
More to follow…..