Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) – Five-time champion Serena
Williams, fourth seed Petra Kvitova and former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki
were among Tuesday’s first-round winners at the Australian Open.
The top-ranked Williams waltzed past Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-0, 6-4 at
The 18-time Grand Slam champion and reigning U.S. Open titlist is seeking her
first title in Melbourne since 2010. One more Grand Slam title and she would
pass Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the all-time list of champions.
“If I could get to 19 in Australia that would be amazing,” Williams said.
Up next for the American great will be former top-10 star Vera Zvonareva, who
lost to Williams in the 2010 Wimbledon final.
The reigning Wimbledon champion Kvitova recorded her 65th career Grand Slam
victory with a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Belgium’s Richel Hogenkamp, while the
eighth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Wozniacki topped American Taylor Townsend
7-6 (7-1), 6-2 on Day 2.
Kvitova, fresh off her title in Sydney last week, will be opposed by German
Mona Barthel in her next outing, while Wozniacki’s second-round opponent will
be fellow former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
The unseeded two-time Aussie champ from Belarus Azarenka got off to a
fine start this week by pasting American Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2.
Azarenka titled back-to-back here in 2012 and 2013 before being slowed by a
foot injury last year.
Azarenka will meet Wozniacki for an eighth time, with the Dane leading the
Belarusian in their lifetime series, 4-3. Wozniacki got the better of Azarenka
in the third round at the 2008 U.S. Open in their lone Grand Slam matchup.
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska
dispatched Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-0 and 11th-seeded 2014 Aussie Open
runner-up Dominika Cibulkova came from behind to best Belgian Kirsten Flipkens
3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Cibulkova lost to since-retired Li Na in last year’s finale in
Venus Williams, the former No. 1 who is seeded 18th at this fortnight,
took care of Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-2, 6-2. Venus, an Aussie
runner-up to her younger sister Serena in 2003, opened her 2015 season
with a title in Auckland two weeks ago, beating Wozniacki in the final.
Venus’ second-round opponent will be fellow American Lauren Davis.
Also, Camila Giorgi upended 12th-seeded fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta
4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Swiss Timea Bacsinszky knocked out 15th-seeded former world
No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-4.
In other seeded action Tuesday, American Madison Brengle, last week’s runner-
up in Hobart, ousted No. 13 Andrea Petkovic 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; No. 19
Alize Cornet defeated Zhang Shuai 6-3, 6-2; No. 20 Aussie Samantha Stosur
beat Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-1; No. 24 Garbine Muguruza topped Marina
Erakovic 7-5, 6-0; No. 25 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova dismissed Timea Babos
6-4, 6-4; No. 26 Elina Svitolina erased Jana Cepelova 6-3, 7-5; No. 29
Aussie Casey Dellacqua cruised past Yvonne Meusburger 6-4, 6-0, and No. 30
American Varvara Lepchenko vaulted past Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3, 6-3.
Several other women advanced, including Americans Coco Vandeweghe, Irina
Falconi and Madison Keys, who defeated Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 7-5.
The second round will commence Wednesday, including matches for second-seeded
former No. 1, former Aussie champ and two-time runner-up Maria Sharapova,
third-seeded French Open finalist Simona Halep and seventh-seeded Canadian
star Eugenie Bouchard. Sharapova will take on fellow Russian Alexandra Panova,
while Halep will meet Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova and Bouchard will battle
Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.