Serena Williams exploded any doubts about her form on Tuesday, January 17 as she swept into the Australian Open 2nd round on her return to Grand Slam action.
The American, with a record 23rd major title in her sights and watched by her new fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, thumped dangerous Swiss teen Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-3.
Williams has barely played since her shock defeat in the US Open semifinals in September and she made, by one count, 88 unforced errors in her second-round loss to Madison Brengle at this month’s Auckland Classic. But she came through a tight 1st set against Bencic before dominating the 2nd set in what turned out to be a convincing victory on the center court.
“It was one of the toughest 1st-round matches I’ve ever played,” said Williams, who had a 1-1 head-to-head with Bencic, 19, before Tuesday’s encounter.
“Right now I’ve got nothing to lose. Every match, every tournament I’m playing for fun,” she added.
Williams, who can break Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles if she wins in Melbourne for the 7th time, next faces Lucie Safarova.