MELBOURNE – Serena Williams discovered a silver lining within the delayed begin to the Australian Open, the season-opening Grand Slam event that’s beginning three weeks later than typical due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Time to get better from an Achilles harm that ended her run ultimately yr’s French Open earlier than her second-round match. Further time together with her daughter, albeit in lodge quarantine.
The 39-year-old American, a seven-time Australian Open champion, restarted her prolonged quest for a twenty fourth Grand Slam singles title with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Daria Gavrilova on Monday in a tuneup event at Melbourne Park.
There are six tournaments being staged this week to provide gamers some probability at aggressive tennis earlier than the primary main of the yr begins subsequent Monday. Williams is enjoying within the Yarra Valley Traditional, together with top-ranked Ash Barty and defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.
Williams mentioned she was “pushing the boundaries” simply being match sufficient to compete at Melbourne Park.
“I wanted each time — I don’t assume I might have been right here if it was in the course of the common season,” she mentioned. “So, whew, that was an undesirable blessing, I might say, however it was a lot wanted for me.
“So I positively took that point to get better and to only do one of the best that I can — and so now it’s lots higher.”
Williams performed an exhibition match in opposition to Naomi Osaka in Adelaide final Friday in her first post-quarantine motion.
Towards Gavrilova on Margaret Court docket Area, she wore a long-sleeve shirt all through the match throughout a comparatively cool summer season day in Melbourne and later mentioned she achieved what she had aimed to realize for a second-round encounter — primarily the 1 1/2 hours on courtroom.
Williams hit 28 winners and had 19 unforced errors, transformed three of her six breakpoints and fended off all 4 she confronted.
The additional few weeks off earlier than the season meant there was simply sufficient time for the naked minimal preparation.
“Truthfully, not as a lot as I might have favored, as a result of I wanted to take — Achilles … oh my goodness, I didn’t notice it will be this lengthy,” she mentioned. “So I positively was pushing the boundaries, however I’m right here.”
Williams has been stalled on 23 main singles titles because the 2017 Australian Open, when she was two months pregnant with now-3-year-old daughter Olympia.
In different matches on the Yarra River Traditional, No. 13 Danielle Collins beat Nina Stojanovic 6-2, 6-1 and seventh-seeded Petra Martic defeated Vera Lapko 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Second-ranked Simona Halep, the top-seeded participant within the Gippsland Trophy, had a 6-4, 6-4 second-round win over Anastasia Potapova to advance together with third-seeded Elina Svitolina, No. 8 Karolina Muchova and No. 9 Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Earlier, Coco Gauff was up a service break within the second set and gave the impression to be on the verge of victory in her first-round match earlier than having to fend off Jil Teichmann 6-3, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5).
The primary Grand Slam event of the yr was delayed by three weeks to permit for COVID-19 protocols which required all individuals arriving in Australia to spend 14 days in quarantine.
The largest males’s event is the ATP Cup workforce occasion, which begins Tuesday. The opposite males’s tournaments are the Nice Ocean Street Open and the Murray River Open.
Along with the Gippsland Trophy and the Yarra Valley Traditional, the WTA has the Grampians Trophy. The Grampians occasion is a 28-draw event and open solely to gamers who have been compelled into laborious lockdown for 14 days with out the good thing about observe due to optimistic COVID-19 instances on their constitution flights to Australia.
Corentin Moutet of France gained a troublesome first-round match over 2019 Australian Open quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe, beating the American 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 on the Murray River Open.
Two People superior, with fifth-seeded Tommy Paul beating Cameron Norrie 4-6, 7-6 (2) 6-3 and Mackenzie McDonald upsetting 14th-seeded Richard Gasquet 7-6 (2), 7-5.
Two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson opened the Nice Ocean Street Open event with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Sixteenth-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain.
No. 13 Aljaz Bedene had a troublesome first-round win, beating Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
Extra AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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