Serena scare as Federer, Murray win in Australia

Serena scare as Federer, Murray win in Australia

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Serena scare as Federer, Murray win in Australia

Serena Williams is treated on the sidelines after hurting her ankle. REUTERS photo

Serena Williams’ bid for a historic Grand Slam hit an injury hurdle at the Australian Open yesterday, as Roger Federer and Andy Murray coasted.

Federer and Murray opened their accounts with superlative wins on a sun-drenched Rod Laver Arena, as they joined Novak Djokovic in the second round and stayed on course to meet in the semifinals.

And there was drama when Williams, gunning for the first sweep of all four major titles in the same year since 1988, was on court for only 19 minutes against Edina Gallovits-Hall before going over heavily on her right ankle.

However, after medical treatment and despite hobbling around the court, the 15-time Grand Slam-winner astonishingly won 6-0, 6-0 in just 54 minutes as she belted every winner in sight to keep her running to a minimum.

“Oh, I’ll be out there. I mean, unless something fatal happens to me, there’s no way I’m not going to be competing,” she said. “I’m alive. My heart’s beating. I’ll be fine.”

Any lasting injury to the favorite could throw the women’s draw wide open and may benefit defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu, but had to come from 3-0 down in the second set before winning 6-1, 6-4.

Wozniacki through

Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s top seed and now ranked at 10, also had to dig deep before reeling off six third-set games in a row to beat Sabine Lisicki.

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also won but seventh seed Sara Errani became the biggest casualty so far.

Elsewhere, Japanese number one Kimiko Date-Krumm, aged 42, became the oldest female to win a main draw match at the Australian Open, upsetting 12th seed Nadia Pedrova 6-2, 6-0.

In the men’s draw, Murray, in his first Grand Slam match since becoming a major-winner, showed his class in a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 dismantling of Dutchman Robin Haase.

Federer, who is drawn to face Murray in the semifinals, also showed little mercy in his 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 win over Frenchman Benoit Paire and next faces Russian Nikolay Davydenko.

It was a typically sumptuous performance from the popular Swiss, who is bidding to become the first man since Roy Emerson in the 1960s to win five Australian Open titles.

Federer paid tribute to Australia’s Drewett, a former player who took over as ATP chief last year, as the sudden revelation of his serious illness prompted a wave of sympathy.

“It’s a very sad situation for all of us. I saw him yesterday and he told me the news. Obviously very emotional,” Federer said. “He was so influential.” Out on Court 8, China’s Wu made history just by turning up, but despite fighting back from a set down the world number 186 could not stave off defeat to Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, who won 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“I’m really happy, but I lost,” smiled Wu, when asked if he was pleased with how he played.