Serena, Osaka, Halep cruise into Australian Open 2nd round

Melbourne, Australia, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- Former world No.1s Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep sailed into the Australian Open second round Monday.

Serena began her quest for an elusive 24th Grand Slam title in auspicious fashion, dropping only two games in a 6-1, 6-1 win over Germany’s Laura Siegemund in less than an hour. The 10th seed, seeking to tie Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record, will play against Nina Stojanovic of Serbia next, hoping to move a step closer to her first major title since clinching the 2017 Australian Open.

Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova did not give Japan’s Osaka much trouble, as the three-time Grand Slam champion earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory in just 68 minutes. Osaka, the 2019 Australian Open champion, will face Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, who prevailed over Slovenia’s Polona Hercog 7-6 (8-6), 6-3.

Romanian Halep needed just shy of one hour to ease past Australian wildcard Lizette Cabrera 6-2, 6-1, to set up a second-round clash against another local, Ajla Tomljanovic.

Venus Williams, also a former world No.1, had to sweat a little more for a 7-5, 6-2 win over Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, while Angelique Kerber of Germany did not make it past American Bernarda Pera. EFE


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