Defending champion Serena Williams has won her first-round match at the Australian Open, beating Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-2, 6-1.
Top-ranked Williams, playing on Rod Laver Arena where she beat Dinara Safina in last year’s final, got off to a fast start against the Polish player, breaking her serve in the first game and holding her own to lead 2-0. Williams won on her fourth match point when Radwanska hit a backhand into the net.
The 28-year-old American wore a thick white bandage around her upper right thigh. Last week, she said she injured her left knee at the Sydney International and said she has been bothered by a foot problem.
Fernando Verdasco of Spain has beaten Carsten Ball 6-7 (4), 7-6 (1), 7-5, 6-2 in a first-round match at the Australian Open.
The ninth-seeded Verdasco had problems at first handling the serve of the big California-based Australian, but eventually wore down Ball on Tuesday with a selection of ground strokes that pulled his opponent out of position.
Ball was also plagued by several unforced errors on key points, including at 5-6 in the third set when he was serving to stay in the set.
Verdasco was a semifinalist last year at the Australian Open, where he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the longest match in the tournament’s history -- a 5-hour, 14-minute marathon which started at dusk on the final Friday and ended at 1:07 a.m. Saturday.