Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams progressed to the second round with a straight-set win over Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic.
The American, 35, won 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 19 minutes against the 19-year-old in Melbourne on Tuesday. The world number two, who is chasing a record 23rd singles Grand Slam title, said she “has nothing to lose”. “Every match I’m playing for fun. I get to travel the world and do what I do best – play tennis,” she added.
Williams will face Lucie Safarova in the second round after the 29-year-old Czech saved nine match points before beating Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 6-1. Safarova saved five match points on her own serve in the second set and another four in the tie-break.
“It’s not fun,” said a stunned Wickmayer. “I think she served very well on certain points and other points I didn’t go far enough. “But it’s normal when you have match point and you want to play it a little bit safe. Then after, you realise it’s not the best option.”
Elsewhere Fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat Williams in last year’s US Open semi-final, is through after a 6-2 6-0 victory over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.
“Even when you’re not playing your best, somehow you have to win,” said the 24-year- old. “I know I can be dangerous deep in the tournament, quarters and semis, and when there are big players I can beat them.”
[author image=”http://hypestationng.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Bright-James-hypestationng.jpg” ]Bright James is a graduate of Communication Arts (University of Uyo), OAP and madly in Love with Sport! Just think of Sport, you’ll see me! [/author]