Australian Open 2019: Madison Keys, Karolina Pliskova march through to second round

Serena Williams coasted into the second round.
Serena Williams coasted into the second round. Photo credit: Getty

Steely eyed Serena Williams has made a ruthless start to her quest for a historic 24th Grand Slam crown, storming into the Australian Open second-round for the loss of just two games.

Returning to Rod Laver Arena for the first time since beating older sister Venus while pregnant in the 2017 final, Williams crushed good friend and neighbour Tatjana Maria 6-0 6-2 on Tuesday in 49m.

"Our daughters play together," Williams said, after showing little sentiment for her fellow tennis mum.

"I wish we could have played each other later in the tournament.

"The last time I was here, I was actually pregnant and playing at the same time, which is insane. It was literally the best win of my career.

"So it's kind of weird walking back on court by myself this time."

On Thursday, Williams will resume against Chinese wildcard Peng Shuai or Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, as she continues her chase for an eighth Open crown. This would draw the American level with Margaret Court with 24 major singles titles.

Williams conceded only five points in racing through the first set, before Maria saved face by finally getting on the board, after dropping the opening nine games.

But victory was inevitable for Williams, who remained undefeated this summer, after three straight-set wins at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Earlier, Karolina Pliskova also continued her unbeaten start to 2019 with a 6-3 6-2 victory over fellow Czech Karolina Muchova.

Pliskova pulled out of last week's Sydney International, after winning her season-opening event in Brisbane, and reaped the rewards with a polished start to her Open campaign.

Madison Keys is through to the second round.
Madison Keys is through to the second round. Photo credit: Getty
Karolina Pliskova eased into the final 64.
Karolina Pliskova eased into the final 64. Photo credit: Getty

In addition to five aces, Pliskova clubbed 21 winners to book a meeting with American Madison Brengle or Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi on Thursday.

"I was hitting great, even in the warm-up," said the 2016 US Open runner-up and former Melbourne Park junior girls' champion after claiming her sixth win of the year in Australia.

"I think it's a good start. I feel happy here, I don't know why - I always love playing here."

Another former Flushing Meadows finalist also progressed on Tuesday, with American 17th seed Madison Keys taking out young Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava 6-2 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena in her first match of 2019.

"I was having issues with my knee towards the end of last year and I ran out of time [to play any lead-up tournaments]," she said. "Mostly, I'm just happy that I did most things pretty well."

Keys will play Russian Anastasia Potapova for a place in the third round.

Other first round women's draw results: 

Tamara Zidansek (Slovenia) bt Daria Gavrilova (Australia) 7-5 6-3.

Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) bt 10-Daria Kasatkina (Russia) 6-3 6-0

Madison Brengle (USA) bt Q-Misaki Doi (Japan) 6-4 6-0

18-Garbine Muguruza (Spain) bt Zheng Saisai (China) 6-2 6-3

Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) bt WC-Peng Shuai (China) 6-2 6-1

13-Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia) bt Mona Barthel (Germany) 6-3 6-1

Johanna Konta (Britain) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (Australia) 7-6 2-6 7-6

Aleksandra Krunic (Serbia) bt Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) 3-6 7-5 6-1

Anastasia Potapova (Russia) bt Pauline Parmentier (France) 6-4 7-6(5)

21-Wang Qiang (China) bt Fiona Ferro (France) 6-4 6-3

Anastasia Potapova (Russia) bt Pauline Parmentier (France) 6-4 7-6

12-Elise Mertens (Belgium) bt Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) 6-2 7-5


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