Top seeds, former champions march on in Melbourne

Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:19am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams stuck to the Australian Open script with fairly routine victories on Tuesday, while men's champion Stan Wawrinka and two-time winner Victoria Azarenka joined them in the second round.

The tournament had been turned on its head on the first day with eight women's seeds, notably fifth ranked Ana Ivanovic, crashing out in the first round.

Tuesday's matches went mostly as expected, however, with Djokovic barely troubled while Serena had some issues in the second set against players ranked more than 100 places below them.

Bidding to become the second man to win five Australian Open titles and touted by pundits and fellow players as the player to beat, Djokovic put in just enough effort to beat Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-2 6-4 in a shade under two hours.

"For a first round performance it was pretty good," said Djokovic, who has been dogged by a virus this month. "Still need to work on some things. I'm still developing my game so I'm glad to go through.

"It has been a rough two weeks health-wise but I'm getting there."

Serena was at her ambivalently arrogant best in the first set, appearing to barely acknowledge Alison Van Utyvanck's presence as she swatted aside the Belgian 6-0 in 21 minutes and then jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second.

Such was her dominance a 'double-bagel' appeared on the cards before the 20-year-old found her rhythm and range and forced the 18-times grand slam winner into a match, which caused some frustrations for the American before she ran out a 6-0 6-4 winner.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return to Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia during their men's singles first round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria