Melbourne: A clinical Serena Williams swept past local hope Ashleigh Barty to get her Australian Open underway yesterday, but insisted winning wasn't her main priority and having fun was more important.
Serena Williams celebrates a point yesterday. Pic/AFP
The American World No 1, the overwhelming favourite to win a sixth Melbourne crown, wasted little energy in swatting aside the young Australian 6-2, 6-1 in under an hour to set up a second round clash with Serbia's Vesna Dolonc.
The demolition moved Williams one step closer to an 18th Grand Slam title, while reinforcing the 32-year-old American as the tournament favourite.
But Williams indicated staying calm was key to keeping her formidable performances going.
“It doesn’t matter whether I win or lose, as long as I have fun. As long as I’m able to stay relaxed, I’ll be okay,” she said, attempting to take the pressure off.
“It’s good to get through that match. She could be potentially a dangerous opponent. She’s really good. I’m just happy to finish that one.”
Williams had never lost in the opening round of the Australian Open in 13 previous appearances and has only fallen once at the first hurdle in 53 Slams, highlighting the massive odds facing the 17-year-old Barty.