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Page last updated at 06:38 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Williams sisters make solid start

AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 19 January-1 February
Coverage: BBC Red Button, BBC One & Two (including all Andy Murray matches), Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Sport website (Red Button coverage streamed on website throughout fortnight)


Serena Williams
Serena Williams is trying to win her third title in Melbourne

Serena and Venus Williams made impressive starts to their Australian Open campaigns with straight-sets wins.

Second seed and three-time champion Serena thrashed Meng Yuan of China 6-3 6-1, before sixth seed Venus saw off Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3.

Fourth seed Elena Dementieva struggled for consistency but eventually rallied to beat Germany's Kristina Barrois 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-1.

And 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo beat Olga Govortsova 6-4 6-4.

Next up for Mauresmo is Britain's Elena Baltacha, who ousted Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 6-1 6-4.

Dementieva came into the tournament on the back of a 10-match winning streak that has seen her collect titles in Auckland and Sydney.

And although she was incensed by her display at times - she was broken three times in the first set and comprehensively outplayed in the second - her class was all too apparent by the end.

It was definitely extreme conditions

Serena Williams

The 27-year-old will now play Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic for a place in round three.

"It was not easy today. I've played a lot of matches over the last two weeks," said Dementieva.

"It's never easy to play your first match - you have to adjust to the weather and the surface. It was pretty tough out there.

"But I'm really enjoying what I'm doing on the court right now. I've had a great start to the year and I hope I can continue to play well."

606: DEBATE

Serena Williams

faced and saved just two break points as Yuan, ranked 123rd in the world, struggled to handle the power of her serve and groundstrokes.

Despite stalling towards the end of the second set amid scorching temperatures on Rod Laver Arena, Williams kept her composure to complete the win in one hour 15 minutes.

"I think I hit some pretty solid shots, sometimes I even went for some shots just to try something different," she said.

"There wasn't so much humidity out there, the dry heat is actually better than the humidity. But it was definitely extreme conditions."

Venus Williams came back from a break down in the second set to beat Kerber, and said: "I'm feeling the best that I can and I'm glad to be in the second round."

She added: "I don't know who will win. I don't know who will lose. I've got to get there. That's really what it's all about for me."

There was a surprise first-round casualty as ninth seed Agnieska Radwanska of Poland was beaten 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 1-6 by Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko.

But eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova avoided such a fate despite a brave second-set fightback from Anastasia Rodionova, the Russian coming through 6-2 3-6 6-3 to reach the second round.

Meanwhile, home favourite Samantha Stosur took just under two hours to beat Klara Zakopalova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-0) of the Czech Republic.



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see also
Murray through as Pavel retires
20 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Awesome Nadal cruises past Rochus
20 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Baltacha powers past Groenefeld
20 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Aussie Open day two photos
20 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Aussie Open day two quotes
20 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
19 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
07 Jan 09 |  Tennis


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