pcloudy.png
Sunday May 19th, 2019 3:15PM

Serena Williams returns to Australian Open with emphatic win

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams jumped straight back in where she left off at the Australian Open, returning for the first time since winning the title in 2017 when she was pregnant with her first child.

Williams conceded only five points in the first set and was completely clinical in a 6-0, 6-2 win over Tatjana Maria, another mom who lives close to Williams in Florida and visits for play dates with their daughters.

It was overwhelming for Maria, who got just two of her first serves into play in the first set and didn't have game points until she held in the fourth game of the second set. She was in tears as the pair hugged at the net at the end of the match, and Williams joined the crowd in giving the German player a clap as she left the arena.

"Yeah, I think the last time I was here, I was pregnant and playing at the same time — which is insane," Williams said. "It's kind of weird walking back on, by myself this time."

Williams rates the 2017 title here among the best of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles, giving everything that was going on. Since returning to the tour following the birth of Alexis Olympia, Williams has lost the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

"Literally the best win of my career," she recalled Tuesday in a post-match TV interview. "Just exciting to be back."

At Melbourne Park, she's now on an eight-match winning streak. She's only lost one of her last 22 matches at the season-opening major, which she has won seven times.

The 37-year-old Williams said she loves to test herself early after practicing "hard for that first hit."

"I like to jump into the deep end and swim," she said.

The 16th-seeded Williams will face either Eugenie Bouchard or wild-card entry Peng Shuai in the second round.

Madison Keys opened her season with a 6-2, 6-2 win over 18-year-old wild-card entry Destanee Aiava in the first match on Rod Laver Arena on Day 2.

"I expected it to be tough — obviously playing an Aussie on Rod Laver. Thanks for the love, anyway," Keys told the crowd.

She broke Aiava's serve four times and fended off the only break-point chance she faced. Aaiva, who was the first player born in this century to play in the main draw of a major when she got a wild card here in 2017, didn't help herself with six double-faults.

The No. 17-seeded Keys has reached the semifinals or better at three of the last five Grand Slam tournaments, and her focus is on the bigger prizes for now.

"I was having issues with my knee at the end of the year (and) ran out of time to be ready for Brisbane — wanted to be 100 percent for here," she said of her lack of competitive matches recently. "It's my first match of the year, so mostly just happy I did everything pretty well."

Seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova won the Brisbane International title in the first week of the season and continued her streak by beating fellow Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the second round.

The temperature was already 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) when play began on all courts shortly after 11 a.m. local time and it rose to 33 C (91 F) by the early afternoon.

___

More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Nishikori advances, rival retires in the 5th set
Kei Nishikori rallied from two sets down and won 10 consecutive games before Kamil Majchrzak retired with the score at 3-6, 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-2, 3-0 at Margaret Court Arena
10:11PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Serena Williams returns to Australian Open with emphatic win
Serena Williams jumped straight back in where she left off at the Australian Open, returning for the first time since winning the title in 2017 when she was pregnant with her first child
10:08PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Barr prepares for Senate confirmation hearing
President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general faces a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday
10:05PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Keys into Aussie Open 2nd round after beating local teenager
In her first match of the season, against an Aussie on center court, Madison Keys made it seem straight forward as she advanced to the second round of the Australian Open
9:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sooners QB, A's pick Kyler Murray declares for NFL draft
Kyler Murray, MLB draft pick and Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma quarterback, declares himself eligible for the NFL draft
8:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
Lovin' it: Trump fetes champion Clemson with burgers, fries
He's lovin' it: Trump fetes champion Clemson Tigers with burgers, fries
8:39PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
On bad hip, Andy Murray out in 1st round of Australian Open
Andy Murray nearly pulled off quite a comeback before losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2 to 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open
11:37AM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Murray going to a fifth set at Aussie Open
Andy Murray has rallied from two sets and a break down to take his first-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut into a fifth set
6:37AM ( 15 hours ago )
Nadal, Sharapova and Wozniacki advance at Australian Open
No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal had a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth in the first round of the Australian Open, his first match since September.
5:03AM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Tennis
Jimmy Fallon: Puerto Rican episode a 'love letter' to island
Jimmy Fallon is calling his 'Tonight Show' episode taped in Puerto Rico a love letter to the island still in hurricane-recovery mode
7:47PM ( 2 hours ago )
R. Kelly accuser says he threatened to reveal her sex life
A woman who accused R. Kelly of sexual abuse says he wrote a letter threatening to reveal details of her sexual history if she didn't drop a lawsuit
4:29PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP sources: Gillibrand moving toward 2020 bid in coming days
Several people familiar with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's plans say the New York Democrat is expected to take steps toward launching a presidential campaign in the coming days by forming an exploratory committee
4:23PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Italian fugitive brought home to serve life term for murder
A left-wing Italian militant who was convicted of murder three decades ago has arrived in Rome to serve a life prison sentence, after his life as a celebrity fugitive came to an abrupt end with his arrest in Bolivia
10:32AM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Italian militant reassigned to island prison
A left-wing Italian militant who spent 37 years as a fugitive is being transferred to a maximum-security prison in remote western Sardinia
9:17AM ( 13 hours ago )
'So happy.' Chris Pratt engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger
A whirlwind romance is leading to an engagement for actor Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger
7:44AM ( 14 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
The Latest: Ostapenko loses in 1st round at Australian Open
Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has been beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 by Maria Sakkari in the first round at Melbourne Park
12:33AM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Sloane Stephens advances at Australian Open
Sloane Stephens ended a three-match losing streak in first-round matches at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow American Taylor Townsend
11:27PM ( 22 hours ago )
The Latest: Nadal beats Aussie wild card at Australian Open
Rafael Nadal wasn't about to let another Australian wild-card entry beat him at a Grand Slam tournament
11:09PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Sports - Women's Tennis
The Latest: Nishikori advances, rival retires in the 5th set
Kei Nishikori rallied from two sets down and won 10 consecutive games before Kamil Majchrzak retired with the score at 3-6, 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-2, 3-0 at Margaret Court Arena
10:11PM ( 12 minutes ago )
The Latest: Barr prepares for Senate confirmation hearing
President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general faces a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday
10:05PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Battle, Syracuse upset No. 1 Duke 95-91 in OT
Tyus Battle scored a season-high 32 points, and Syracuse upset No. 1 Duke 95-91 in overtime
10:01PM ( 22 minutes ago )
The Latest: Serena quick winner at Aussie Open
Serena Williams was relentless in her first appearance at Melbourne Park since winning the title in 2017, losing only five points in the opening set on her way to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Tatjana Maria in just 49 minutes
9:45PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Company known for deep cost-cutting offers to buy Gannett
A hedge fund-backed bid to buy Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today and several other major dailies, is renewing fears of consolidation, job losses and declining news coverage in the already battered newspaper industry
9:39PM ( 44 minutes ago )