MELBOURNE: Agent Venus Williams kicked off her 2021 season with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat to Ontica Russia, while former top 10 players Jelena Ostapenko and Caroline Garcia signed off on a full week of Australian Open warm-up matches. Also showed victory. Melbourne Park on Sunday.
Venice, 40, showed some signs of quarantining 14 days in her first round romp at the Yarra Valley Classic, crushing her Dutch rival in 65 minutes – 27 years after making her professional debut. Expressed surprise.
The tournament is one of two WTA tournaments being played simultaneously in Melbourne Park and will be played by Tennis Australia two weeks after the start of the Australian Open on February 8, two weeks before the start of the Australian Open. Quarantine provides a match-fixing opportunity in hotels.
More than 1,000 players and staff went on a two-week quarantine from January 14 when the first of 17 chartered flights by Tennis Australia landed in Melbourne and Adelaide.
US 13th seed Daniel Collins also eased to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Belgium’s Isaline Bonaventure. She advanced to the second round with compatriot Shelby Rogers, who defeated 12th seed Fiona Ferro 6-2, 7-5.
Australia’s Daria Gavrilova won her first home match since 2019, beating Slovakia’s Victoria Kazmova 6-2, 6-0. In the second round, she will face 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova also took the lead, beating home favorite and former US Open champion Samantha Stosur 6-2, 6-0.
Unbeaten Romania’s Anna Bogdan defeated Russian teenager Kamilla Rakhimova 6-2, 6-2 and set a date with top seed Ash Barty, while Anastasia Sevastova proved to be too strong for Madison Brengel.
In a fight between former top five players, 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko withdrew after losing the first set to Sarah Errani 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the Gypsyland Trophy.
Former French world number four Garcia also took his season on a positive note, beating Australian wildcard Irina Rodionova 6-3, 6-4.
Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi stepped back from the brink of defeat by defeating another Australian wildcard Astra Sharma 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 to earn two points in a 1-6, 3-5 defeat.
Top-seeded Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka were bid farewell and will enter the field in the second round.
Anastasia Potapova defeated teammate Whitney Osuigwe 6-3, 6-0 to set a date with Halep, while France’s Eliza Carnet will decide Osaka’s first opponent on Monday with Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.
11th seed Zheng Saisai was back in action after 11 months but was knocked out by Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu who came back from a set after beating the Chinese 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.