Australian Open 2021: Naomi Osaka rolls into second round with stunning straight-sets win

Naomi Osaka made a stunning start at the Australian Open, demolishing triple quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-2 to reach the second round.

Russian veteran Pavlyuchenkova was seen as a potential banana skin for Osaka, but was reduced to roadkill as the Japanese third seed steamrolled her in the opening match at Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka pulled out of the semi-final of the Gippsland Trophy with a shoulder niggle but betrayed no sign of injury to the smattering of spectators in the centre court terraces.

Osaka next faces the winner of Caroline Garcia and Polona Hercog for a place in the third round.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams took the first step on what she hopes will be the path to a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in some style on Monday with a 6-1 6-1 thrashing of Germany's Laura Siegemund.

The 39-year-old American, who had never failed to get through the first round in 19 previous visits to Melbourne Park, made a faltering start with a double fault on the first point and gave up her serve in the first game.

Williams lost just one more game over the one-hour contest, however, overpowering her hapless opponent with thumping serves and howitzer forehands in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd of unmasked fans on Rod Laver Arena.

Next up for the seven-times Australian Open champion in her quest to match Australian Margaret Court's record tally of Grand Slam titles is a second round tie against Serbian Nina Stojanovic.

Canadian eighth seed Bianca Andreescu was made to work hard on her return to competition after 15 months, the 2019 US Open winner digging deep to see off Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-2 4-6 6-3.

The 20-year-old, playing her first match since retiring from the 2019 WTA Finals in Shenzhen with a knee injury, moved assuredly on court and showed no signs of discomfort against the world number 138.

Despite going through 14 days of hard quarantine after arriving in Australia, Andreescu breezed through the opening set with two breaks of serve.

However, Buzarnescu, 32, raised her game in the second set and levelled the match as the Andreescu's unforced error count began to creep up.

Down 0-40 and facing a break at 3-3 in the decider, Andreescu managed to find a different gear to hold serve and then won the next two games to seal victory.

She faces a second-round matchup against Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei, who earlier beat U.S. Open quarter-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 7-5 6-2.

Other results in the women's draw

World number eight Petra Kvitova defeated Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 6-3 6-4 to advance to the second round.

World No.2 Simona Halep sealed a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Australian wild card Lizette Cabrera in the first round at the Rod Laver Arena.

World No. 26 Alison Riske was beaten 2-6 1-6 in the opening round by Anastasia Potapova, who is ranked 101.

Unseeded American Bernarda Pera stunned former champion Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-0 6-4 to reach the second round.

Pera struck 26 winners compared to just seven from Kerber as she wrapped up the biggest win of her career in just 70 minutes

Venus Williams beat Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 7-5 6-2 to reach the second round in front of about 200 fans on Margaret Court Arena.

Flipkens made 30 unforced errors compared to just 13 by Williams, who also won more than 80% of her first-serve points.