MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams claims to suffer from nerves and jitters before her first-round matches at the Grand Slams.
She certainly didn’t show it, winning her first set in 21 minutes on Tuesday night on the way to a 6-0, 6-4 win over Alison Van Uytvanck at the Australian Open.
The 18-time major winner has only once lost in the opening round at a Grand Slam tournament, and this is her 58th. One more Grand Slam title and she’ll 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,” said the top-ranked Williams, who won the last of her five Australian titles in 2010.
Four-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic returned to Rod Laver Arena for the first time as a husband and father, shrugging off the effects of a cold to beat No. 116-ranked Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in his first-round match.
Djokovic won the first of his seven major titles at the 2008 Australian Open, then won here in three consecutive years from 2011 to 2013. His 25-match winning streak at Melbourne Park ended in a quarterfinal loss last year to Stan Wawrinka, who went on to win the title.
Wawrinka began the defense of a major crown for the first time with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 100-ranked Marsel Ilhan, taking less than 1
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