Sports Monks

Australian Open: Serena Williams & Naomi Osaka win but Angelique Kerber loses

Serena Williams launched her latest bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam with a 56-minute demolition of Laura Siegemund at the Australian Open.

The American, 39, said it was “vintage Serena” as she thrashed the German 6-1 6-1 in front of a small, unmasked crowd on Rod Laver Arena.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka also made a convincing start with a 6-1 6-2 win over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

But former champion Angelique Kerber was the first seed to be knocked out.

The German 23rd seed, who was one of 72 players to spend 14 days in ‘hard’ quarantine before the tournament – confined to a hotel room and unable to train outside – was beaten 6-0 6-4 by American Bernarda Pera.

Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion, said the quarantine had affected her form for the major.

“You feel it, especially if you play a real match where it counts and you play against an opponent who doesn’t stay in the hard lockdown,” she said.

American 24th seed Alison Riske, who also did the hard quarantine, lost 6-2 6-1 to Russian world number 101 Anastasia Potapova.

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