Tumbling Serena leads Melbourne march of top seeds

Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:26am EST
 

By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams refused to let a painful tumble divert her from her quest for a sixth Australian Open title on Tuesday as Roger Federer and Andy Murray progressed almost untroubled towards their goals on day two at Melbourne Park.

Williams picked herself up to complete a resounding 6-0 6-0 victory over Edina Gallovits-Hall, a ruthless dominance that world number one and defending champion Victoria Azarenka was unable to replicate as she progressed to the second round.

Swiss Federer beat Benoit Paire 6-2 6-4 6-1 to embark on his campaign for an 18th major title after Briton Murray had steadied his grand slam nerves with a controlled 6-3 6-1 6-3 victory over Robin Haase.

After an underwhelming opening day of the tournament on Monday, the sheer wealth of talent on display on the show courts almost ensured a better day two under the sunny skies at Melbourne Park.

There is no bigger personality in tennis than Williams, who is chasing a third successive grand slam title after wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and the American almost inevitably hogged the spotlight.

Rampaging towards victory, the 31-year-old turned her ankle after hitting a forehand and lay prone on the court for a couple of dramatic minutes - immediately recalling her fall at Brisbane last year that ultimately ended her 2012 Melbourne campaign.

"It was definitely a lot of pain," she said. "Also a little bit of the memory, as well. So it was definitely a little bit of both. But also at the same time trying to gather myself together and trying to make sure that I can continue."

She was soon back up, ankle strapped, to complete the rout and said nothing would stop her from taking to court for her second round tie against Spain's Garbine Muguruza.   Continued...

 
Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania during their women's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz