Serena Williams cruises in first round of Australian Open

Sep 28, 2020; Paris, France; Serena Williams (USA) in action during her match against Kristie Ahn (USA) on day two of the 2020 French Open at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Serena Williams overcame an early misstep before sprinting to victory in her opening-round match at the Australian Open on Monday in Melbourne.

Williams dropped the first game before winning the next 10 in a 6-1, 6-1 romp over Laura Siegemund of Germany. The match lasted just 56 minutes.

The 10th-seeded Williams is bidding to tie Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24 major championships, with the American’s most recent Grand Slam title coming in Melbourne in 2017.

“I’ve had a ton of pressure, and now I don’t feel it anymore,” Williams said. “It’s like a huge relief. I think I was just looking at it all the wrong way in the past, and I feel totally different about it now.”

Williams didn’t show much in the way of nerves in her pursuit of an eighth Australian Open title. She hit 16 winners and converted six of her nine break points en route to improving her record to 88-12 at the tournament.

Williams will face Nina Stojanovic in the next round. The Serb posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.

Serena’s older sister, Venus, posted a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium. Venus Williams, 40, is the oldest woman in this year’s draw.

“I like my job,” she said. “No matter what happens to you in life, you always hold your head up high and give 100 million percent. And that’s what I do every single day, and that’s something I can be proud of.”

Second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Australian Lizette Cabrera. Halep, who finished as the runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in 2018, recorded 15 of the first 19 points to breeze to the win.

Third-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan extended her winning streak to 15 matches with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.

Other seeded winners included No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, No. 8 Bianca Andreescu of Canada, No. 9 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, No. 15 Iga Swiatek of Poland, No. 17 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, No. 19 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, No. 27 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and No. 32 Veronika Kudermetova of Russia.

Seeded players to fall included 2016 Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber of Germany, along with No. 24 Alison Riske and No. 30 Qiang Wang of China. Bernarda Pera secured a 6-0, 6-4 win over the 23rd-seeded Kerber, Russian Anatasia Potapova posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Riske, and Italian Sara Errani notched a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Wang.

–Field Level Media