Melbourne, Jan 20 (IANS) Roger Federer and Serena Williams got off to clinical starts in the opening round of the Australian Open on Monday. While Federer brushed aside Steve Johnson to race into the second round, Serena thrashed Anastasia Potapova.
Federer (38) eased past his rival 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to kickstart his bid for a 21st Grand Slam title in style. He will next take on either French qualifier Quentin Halys or Serbian Filip Krajinovic.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic survived a scare as he dropped his first set in the opening round before grinding down Jan-Lennard Struff to stay on track for a record eighth title. The Serb, a 16-time Major winner, won 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 to make it to the second round at Melbourne Park for the 14th consecutive year.
Meanwhile, 13th seed Denis Shapovalov had a big row with the umpire for throwing his racquet in frustration as he lost his opener 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 1-6, 6-7 (7/3) to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in a big upset on day one.
In the women’s section, while Serena beat Potapova 6-0, 6-3 in 58 minutes, Naomi Osaka began her Australian Open title defence in style by dismantling unseeded Czech Marie Bouzkova. The 22-year-old Japanese roared past her rival 6-2, 6-4 in 80 minutes.
World No. one and local girl Ashleigh Barty braved a scare before powering into the second round. The 23-year-old saw off Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
Caroline Wozniacki also started with a good win as the 2018 champion beat Kristie Ahn 6-1, 6-3 to reach the second round.
American Coco Gauff, all of 15, got the better of Venus Williams — the second time the teenager has dumped the veteran out in a Grand Slam first round as she won 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.