Serena banishes injury worries

January 18, 2016
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World number one and defending champion Serena Williams proved her fitness in a tough first-round victory at the Australian Open.

Williams, who took time away from the game after the US Open last year and more recently suffered a problem in her left knee, eventually saw off Camila Giorgi 6-4 7-5 in a match which lasted almost one-and-three-quarter hours.

And Williams, aiming to win her seventh title in Melbourne and her 22nd career Grand Slam singles crown, was pleased with her performance against the hard-hitting Italian.

She told reporters afterwards: "(The knee is) great. It was an hour and 43 minutes and I didn't feel it at all."

Sixth seed Kvitova, who has seen her preparation for Melbourne severely hampered by illness, ensured there was no repeat of her loss to Luksika Kumkhum two years ago, as she defeated her Thai opponent 6-3 6-1.

And the Czech left-hander was pleased to her got her first match out of the way, saying: "Now I can breathe a little bit normally. I got really nervous before the match, the memories from two years ago were a little bit difficult.

"I had an interrupted lead-up and lost some weight, but I'm feeling much better now."

Meanwhile, Agnieszka Radwanska showed few signs of her recent leg problems as she swept past American Christina McHale 6-2 6-3, but 16th seed Caroline Wozniacki, 17th seed Sara Errani and 24th seed Sloane Stephens all fell at the first hurdle.

There was also disappointment for Britain's Heather Watson, as she lost in three sets to Timea Babos of Hungary.

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