Serena Williams brutalises teen opponent in Australian Open masterclass

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Serena Williams has made a scintillating start to her Australian Open campaign, destroying Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-3 in just 57 minutes.

The 18-year-old Russian was completely outmatched on Rod Laver Arena on Monday as Serena stormed into the second round in an absolute masterclass.

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Potapova was in danger of suffering a rare double bagel when she failed to get on the scoreboard in the first set, Serena taking it in 19 minutes.

Serena Williams beat Anastasia Potapova in just 58 minutes. Image: Getty

However she got the crowd on her side as she started to find her rhythm in the second set, taking three games off the 23-time grand slam champ.

Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as Serena showed her class and pulled away to victory.

Fans and commentators were in awe of Serena’s brutal display.

Australia has provided a happy hunting ground for Williams, with seven of her 23 major titles coming at Melbourne Park, including her last in 2017 when she beat sister Venus in the final and later announced she was pregnant.

But grand slam success has proven elusive since the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia.

Four times - twice at Wimbledon (2018, 2019) and the US Open (2018, 2019) - Williams has come agonisingly close to Margaret Court’s record of 24 slams, only to fall at the final hurdle.

Osaka makes similarly strong start

Earlier, Naomi Osaka launched her Australian Open title defence with a gritty first-round win over rising young Czech Marie Bouzkova.

The Japanese third seed was made to fight back from a service break down in the second set before advancing with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Bouzkova in Monday's opening match on Rod Laver.

Playing for the first time since blowing match points in her Brisbane International semi-final against Karolina Pliskova two weeks ago, Osaka came out firing.

She took the opening set with two service breaks before Bouzkova, making her Open debut on Melbourne Park's biggest stage, began to find her groove.

Serena Williams speaks with Anastasia Potapova after her victory. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

The 21-year-old fashioned several break points before finally capitalising to charge ahead 4-2 in the second set.

Forced to raise her game, Osaka responded to reel off four straight games to take the match in one hour, 20 minutes.

"It's really tough to play someone you've never played in the first round of a grand slam," Osaka said, declining to talk up her chances of going back-to-back.

"I just think you'll see, I guess, if I go far in this tournament. I hope I'm still standing here at the end of the week."

It was the 2018 US Open champion's 18th win from her past 19 grand slam matches on hard courts and set up a second-round clash with Zheng Saisai.

Zheng, the world No.42, earlier beat Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 6-3 6-2 in her opener.

with AAP