Sizzling Serena back with bang in Australia

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Serena Williams of the US serves against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic during their Australian Open first round match, in Melbourne, on January 17, 2017 © AFP / GREG WOOD

MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan 17 Serena Williams exploded any doubts about her form on Tuesday as she swept into the Australian Open second round on her return to Grand Slam action.

The American, having a record 23rd major title in her sights as well as watched by her brand-new fiance, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, thumped dangerous Swiss teen Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-3.

Williams has barely played since her shock defeat inside US Open semi-finals in September as well as she made, by one count, 88 unforced errors in her second-round loss to Madison Brengle at This particular month’s Auckland Classic.

nevertheless she came through a tight first set against Bencic before dominating the second set in what turned out to be a convincing victory on the centre court.

Milos Raonic of Canada hits a return against Dustin Brown of Germany during their Australian Open first round match, in Melbourne, on January 17, 2017 © AFP / PETER PARKS

“the item was one of the toughest first-round matches I’ve ever played,” said Williams, who had a 1-1 head-to-head with Bencic, 19, before Tuesday’s encounter.

“Right at This particular point I’ve got nothing to lose. Every match, every tournament I’m playing for fun,” she added.

Williams, who can break Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles if she wins in Melbourne for the seventh time, next faces Lucie Safarova, who had a charmed life in her win over Yanina Wickmayer.

The Czech survived nine match points before winning 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1 against the flummoxed Wickmayer, who said she was feeling “definitely not Great” after letting slip so many opportunities.

“the item’s not fun,” said the Belgian, adding: “I think she served very well on certain points as well as various other points I didn’t go for enough.

Johanna Konta of Britain celebrates her victory over Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens in Australian Open first round match, in Melbourne, on January 17, 2017 © AFP / PETER PARKS

“nevertheless I think the item’s normal when you have match point as well as you want to play the item a little bit safe. Then after, you realise the item’s not the best option.”

Men’s world number three Milos Raonic, a semi-finalist last year, enjoyed an uncomplicated start to his campaign when he beat Germany’s Dustin Brown 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

as well as German hotshot Alexander Zverev credited a racquet-smashing tantrum with sparking his revival as he came back to beat Robin Haase 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

“Sometimes the item’s Great to let the item out as well as I started off to play my best tennis again after of which (racquet smash) inside fourth set,” Zverev said.

Women’s fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, whose win over Williams at the US Open ended her 186-week stint as world number one, smashed Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 6-0.

as well as Britain’s Jo Konta, riding high after her victory at last week’s Sydney International, beat experienced Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 7-5, 6-2 to reach the second round.

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Sizzling Serena back with bang in Australia

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