World No. 1, Serena Williams, cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a straight sets victory over Australian youngster Ashleigh Barty. She is now expected to face Serbia’s Vesna Dolonc in the second round, marking the first time the two competitors meet on the professional tour.
Williams was in fantastic form in her opening round contest, as she dropped a mere three games in her entire match Monday evening. Barty, the world No. 155, put up a fight, but was simply unable to come with the enormous power and precision coming off Serena’s racquet. Considering this is her first full season on the WTA tour and that she was coming off an injury heading into the tournament, it was a good performance from the budding talent.
The American managed 31 winners to her 17 unforced errors and never faced the threat of a break point throughout the match, which lasted a total of 57 minutes.
“It was a little tricky out there,” Williams said. “It’s good to get through that match. She could be a potentially dangerous opponent. She’s really good. So I’m just really happy to finish that one.”
Williams is now 53-1 in the first round of the Grand Slam tournaments, with the 2012 French Open being the only blunder throughout her career. She is also riding a 23 matches win streak, the second-longest of her career (her record is 34 matches, between Miami and Wimbledon in 2013).
Dolonc punched her ticket for a second round encounter with the top-ranked Williams with a three sets victory over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena. After only managing to win two games in the opening set, Dolonc edged out the match in a decider 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. The Serb is ranked 51 spots higher than Williams’ first round opponent, Barty, and could likely present a few more challenges than the inexperienced Australian. Of her six previous Australian Open appearances, Dolonc has reached the second round on two occasions, with her third taking place tomorrow afternoon against the American. Last year, she lost out to eventual Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and has now drawn an even tougher opponent in the second round.
This marks the first time the two competitors meet on the professional tour. The obvious advantage goes to Serena, who has a wealth of Grand Slam experience in her arsenal and will likely use her powerful serves and forehands to keep Dolonc at bay, eventually cruising to another straight sets victory.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Straight Sets