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After a Tumble, Serena Advances at Aussie Open

15 Jan 2013

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Venus Williams makes a forehand return to Kazakstan's Galina Voskoboeva during their first round match

Serena Williams tumbled to the court and needed a medical timeout in the first set for treatment on her right ankle. Once she got up, it was all over for Edina Gallovits-Hall.

Williams routed Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday despite the scary sequence in the first part of the match, reports The Associated Press.

The No. 3-ranked Williams is favoured to win the season's first major, rolling into Melbourne Park with 35 wins in her previous 36 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics and the U.S. Open. But the injury could be a significant setback as she seeks a third consecutive Grand Slam title.

Williams said there was pain and swelling in her ankle and X-rays were an option, but she wanted to leave any decisions about treatment for a few hours. She gets a day off before her second-round match on Thursday.

Defending champion Victoria Azarenka also advanced, coming back from a break down in the second set to beat Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka is ranked No. 1 but has lost 11 of her 12 career matches against Williams, and knows how hard it is to beat the veteran American in any condition.

Azarenka's win was sandwiched between matches on the same court involving two of the main contenders for the men's title. No. 3 Andy Murray won his first Grand Slam match as a major champion, beating Robin Haase of the Netherlands in straight sets, and No. 2 Roger Federer fended off Benoit Paire of France 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

With a packed program on the centre court, Williams was playing on the second of the show courts.

The 31-year-old Williams was leading 4-0 after 19 minutes when she fell awkwardly chasing a ball wide on her forehand side, putting both hands over her face.

She rolled from her back to her hands and knees, where she stayed for several minutes before she was helped to her feet. The 15-time major winner started limping before easing into a walking stride as she made her way to her court-side chair to have her already heavily taped ankle treated and then re-taped.

Murray beat Haase 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in the opening round and was asked what it felt like to play after his triumph at the U.S. Open, where he became the first British man since 1936 to win a major title.

''I can try and focus on the second part of my career now,'' he said.

It's been 12 months since Murray started working with eight-time major winner Ivan Lendl, and he attributes much of the success in his breakthrough 2012 to his partnership with his new coach.

It's relaxed ''in front of the cameras, yeah,'' Murray joked. ''Behind closed doors he works me very hard.

''We've had a very good relationship so far. He's very honest, very open. He doesn't lie to you, he tells you exactly how it is and that's exactly what I needed.''

Also advancing were No. 13 Milos Raonic of Canada, who beat Jan Hajek 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (0), No. 17 Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 21 Andreas Seppi and No. 25 Florian Mayer.

In a record for the Australian Open, 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm upset No. 12-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-2, 6-0 to become the oldest woman to win a singles match at the tournament.

In other women's matches, former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki won the last six games to beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, and No. 16 Roberta Vinci and No. 17 Lucie Safarova also moved on. American teenager Sloane Stephens beat Simona Halep of Romania 6-1, 6-1.

Former U.S. Open and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova continued her comeback from a knee injury that kept her out of the U.S. Open, ending her run of 40 consecutive majors. Also, No. 14 Maria Kirilenko had a 6-4, 6-2 win over American Vania King, and China's Peng Shuai beat Canada's Rebecca Marino 6-3, 6-0.

Tags: Sports, World, Featured, AUSSIE OPEN, Serena

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