Serena Williams’ bid for a historic Grand Slam hit an injury hurdle at the Australian Open on Tuesday, 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 semi-finals.

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.

The 31-year-old said she felt pain and swelling and may need an X-ray, but pledged to soldier on in her quest for a sixth title at the year’s first Grand Slam.

“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.” She added: “Obviously there’s pain. Obviously there’s swelling.”

Any lasting injury to the hot favourite could throw the women’s draw wide open and may benefit defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who is scheduled to meet Williams in the semi-finals.

The world number one from Belarus beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu, but had to come from 3-0 down in the second set before winning 6-1, 6-4.

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 Germany’s Sabine Lisicki.

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also won but Italy’s seventh seed Sara Errani, who contested last year’s French Open final, became the biggest casualty so far when she crashed out to Carla Suarez Navarro.

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.

The Scot said he hoped the experience of September’s US Open win would help him later in the tournament.

“I think when I would see the benefits of that is if I get myself deep into a Slam this year and you’re playing against the top players. That’s when I think you’ll draw on that experience and use it in the right way,” he said. Federer, who is drawn to face Murray in the semi-finals, also showed little mercy in his 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 win over Frenchman Benoit Paire.

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.AFP