Breaking down the 2017 Australian Open bracket

Breaking down the 2017 Australian Open bracket

Serena Williams took her first step toward Australian Open title No. 7 and Grand Slam singles championship No. 23 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Belinda Bencic.

The Australian Open has been Haas' most successful Grand Slam tournament - he's made the semifinals three times, most recently in 2007.

"I didn't come here to lose in the first round, or the second round, or at all", Williams said in her pretournament press conference.

Bencic pulled Williams back after an early break put the American 3-1 up, and the Swiss also rallied from 5-0 down in the second set to reach 5-3 before Serena put the game to bed for a 6-4 6-3 win.

Kerber would next face fellow German Carina Witthoeft in the second round on Wednesday, and the world number one holds a 2-0 head-to-head record against her previously.

She lost past year to Kristyna Pliskova, who was ranked No. 114.

"After playing so many years, you deserve a little bit of luck", said Williams, whose new fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, was watching from the stands. It would be their first meeting on a hardcourt and Kerber should be able to get past her in straight sets. "But overall I feel like I am getting better with every passing day".

The first game of the final set saw Tsurenko hold her service game despite a nervy start.

Serving for the match at 5-3, Williams double-faulted on her first match point before clinching it on her second when Bencic netted a backhand.

Pliskova preceded Williams on Rod Laver Arena by beating Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2 6-0, while Cibulkova and Konta breezed past Denisa Allertova and Kirsten Flipkens respectively after tough opening sets.

Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta had their Grand Slam breakthroughs a year ago, and both prepared for the season's first major with title runs in Australia.

She will come up against Lucie Safarova, who saved nine match points before beating Belgian Yanina Wickmayer in their first round encounter.

Kyle Edmund rounded things off in the day session with a commanding straight-sets win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, coping admirably in very hard conditions.

The fifth-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals before losing the final to Angelique Kerber, has never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park - losing at that stage in the last two years to Ekaterina Makarova.

"I'm very pleased with the first round, considering I had one of the toughest first-round draws, definitely considering his form, " said Djokovic, who is aiming to be the first man to win seven Australian titles.

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are set to begin quests for their seventh Australian Open titles on Tuesday at Melbourne Park under sunny skies and temperatures not quite as high as forecast.

Enjoy the latest action from the 2017 Australian Open - which is live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player.

The original steamy weather forecast has been scaled back to a high of 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).



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