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Serena, 39, and Venus, 40, win Australian Open first-round matches

Serena Williams

Serena Williams of the US hits a return against Germany’s Laura Siegemund during their women’s singles match on day one of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 8, 2021. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Serena Williams is into the second round of the Australian Open at age 39. Sister Venus also advanced, becoming the first woman in her 40s to win a Grand Slam main draw match in eight years.

Serena, the No. 10 seed, overpowered 49th-ranked German Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 in 56 minutes after being broken in her first game of the tournament. Now 76-1 in the first round of majors, she next plays 99th-ranked Serbian Nina Stojanović.

“This was a good start, definitely vintage ‘Rena,” she said. “I think I’m pretty good at pacing myself in a Grand Slam.”

Serena said before the tournament that she probably would not have played if it was held on its usual dates, three weeks earlier, citing an Achilles injury that forced her to withdraw from the French Open on Sept. 30. She’s also nursing a right shoulder injury.

Serena is playing her 11th Grand Slam since returning from childbirth, seeking her first major title as a mom and to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 major singles titles. Serena was runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2019.


Earlier Monday in Melbourne, Venus became the first woman in her 40s to win a Grand Slam singles match since Kimiko Date in 2013.

Venus, who last year failed to win a Grand Slam match for the first time in her 24-year career, beat Belgian Kristen Flipkens 7-5, 6-2. She gets No. 30 Wang Qiang of China or Italian veteran Sara Errani in round two.

Naomi Osaka, the 2019 Australian Open winner and favorite, routed 39th-ranked Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2 in 68 minutes. Osaka, on a 15-match win streak, next gets Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, formerly world No. 4 now ranked 43rd.

Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino earned her first Grand Slam match win since 2011. Marino, 30, retired in 2013, dealing with burnout, depression and cyberbullying, and came back in 2018.

Novak Djokovic, the record eight-time Australian Open champ, plays Frenchman Jeremy Chardy later Monday.

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