By JOHN PYE, AP Sports activities Author
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams discovered a silver lining within the delayed begin to the Australian Open, the season-opening Grand Slam match that’s beginning three weeks later than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Time to recuperate from an Achilles harm that ended her run finally yr’s French Open earlier than her second-round match. Further time together with her daughter, albeit in resort 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 match at Melbourne Park.
There are six tournaments being staged this week to present gamers some probability at aggressive tennis earlier than the primary main of the yr begins subsequent Monday. Williams is enjoying within the Yarra Valley Basic, together with top-ranked Ash Barty and defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.
The fifth-seeded Williams mentioned she was “pushing the bounds” simply being match sufficient to compete at Melbourne Park.
“I wanted each time — I don’t assume I’d have been right here if it was through the common season,” she mentioned. “So, whew, that was an undesirable blessing, I’d say, however it was a lot wanted for me.
“So I undoubtedly took that point to recuperate and to only do the perfect that I can — and so now it’s so much higher.”
Williams performed an exhibition match towards Naomi Osaka in Adelaide final Friday in her first post-quarantine motion.
In opposition to Gavrilova on Margaret Courtroom Enviornment, she wore a long-sleeve shirt all through the match throughout a comparatively cool summer time 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 court docket.
Williams hit 28 winners and had 19 unforced errors, transformed three of her six breakpoints and fended off all 4 she confronted. She’s going to subsequent face Tsvetana Pironkova. Williams beat Pironkova within the U.S. Open quarterfinals in September and was set to play the Bulgarian at Roland Garros earlier than harm compelled her to withdraw.
The additional few weeks off earlier than the season meant there was simply sufficient time for the naked minimal preparation.
“Actually, not as a lot as I’d have preferred, as a result of I wanted to take — Achilles … oh my goodness, I didn’t notice it might be this lengthy,” she mentioned. “So I undoubtedly was pushing the bounds, 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 Basic, 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 seemed 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 match of the yr was delayed by three weeks to permit for COVID-19 protocols which required all folks arriving in Australia to spend 14 days in quarantine.
The largest males’s match is the ATP Cup crew 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 Basic, the WTA has the Grampians Trophy. The Grampians occasion is a 28-draw match and open solely to gamers who had been compelled into exhausting lockdown for 14 days with out the advantage of follow due to constructive COVID-19 circumstances on their constitution flights to Australia.
Jeremy Chardy beat 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) within the first spherical of the Murray River Open.
Two Individuals superior within the ATP match, 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.
Frances Tiafoe, an Australian Open quarterfinalist in 2019, misplaced to Corentin Moutet 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson opened the Nice Ocean Street Open match 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).
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