After a wobbly start, Serena Williams swept 10 consecutive games to beat Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 on the first day of the Australian Open on Monday.
This victory marked the start of Williams latest bid for a record-tying 24th major title. As she left the court, she flexed her biceps and later wore a T-shirt that read “Unstoppable Queen.”
“This was a good start — vintage ’Rena,” she said. “It’s definitely good. I’m pretty good at pacing myself at a Grand Slam.”
Williams lost only nine points on her serve and hit 16 winners, and showed no sign of the right shoulder issue that led her to pull out of the warm-up tournament.
She easily overpowered Siegemund and saved one of her best shots for the final game.
For the past four years, Williams has been trying to equal Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles. The most recent Grand Slam championship that William won was in 2017 at Melbourne.
“I’ve had a ton of pressure, and now I don’t feel it anymore,” she said. “It’s like a huge relief. I think I was just looking at it all the wrong way in the past, and I feel totally different about it now.”
However, she wasn’t the only Williams to reach the second round. Her elder sister Venus won a Grand Slam match for the first time since 2019.
The elder Williams beat Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2 while playing her 21st Australian Open.
At the age of 40, Venus is the oldest woman competitor this year and just the sixth player in her 40s to compete at the Australian Open.
“I like my job,” she said. “No matter what happens to you in life, you always hold your head up high and give 100 million per cent. And that’s what I do every single day, and that’s something I can be proud of.”