Tuesday 21 November 2017

Tennis: Williams’ record continues as seeds prosper

WORLD No 1 Serena Williams maintained her remarkable unblemished record in the first round of grand slams with a 6-2 6-1 win over Urszula Radwanska at the Australian Open.

The defending champion has never lost an opening-round match in her 41 major appearances and was hardly troubled as she won in one hour and 17 minutes against the 19-year-old Pole.

“I was a little nervous today because that (record) is always on the back of my mind,” Williams said. “Records are meant to be broken so I'm like, ‘God, I hope this record is not to be broken'. It's my personal record.

“This one means a lot to me. That's something that I want to keep up for my career.”

Williams, who will next play Petra Kvitova, was joined in the second round by her sister, Venus, who confidently negotiated a difficult-looking opener with Lucie Safarova 6-2 6-2.

The Czech left-hander had taken Williams to three sets in their previous meeting at the French Open last year but the match on the Hisense Arena was all one-way traffic, with the American winning almost double the number of points.

“I was playing a really talented player. Everyone knows how well Lucie can hit the ball,” said Venus. “We've had some tough matches in the past. It was a great way to start.”

After Monday's shock loss of 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, it was a good day for the seeded players in the women's draw.

Ana Ivanovic, who lost the final to Sharapova two years ago, outclassed qualifier Shenay Perry 6-2 6-3 while her fellow Serbian and eighth seed Jelena Jankovic was just as impressive in casting aside Monica Niculescu 6-4 6-0.

Tenth seed Agnieszka Radwanska made up for the disappointment of sister Urszula's loss with a comprehensive 6-1 6-0 victory over Tatjana Malek while 11th seed Marion Bartoli beat Rossana De Los Rios 6-4 6-1.

Local hope Sam Stosur survived a scare on Rod Laver Arena as the 13th seed beat China's Xinyun Han 6-1 3-6 6-2.

The biggest casualty of the day was 18th seed Virginie Razzano, who lost to Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-3.

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