Skip to main content

Serena shrugs off injury scares to open new season with convincing victory

December 30, 2012 -- Updated 2008 GMT (0408 HKT)
Serena Williams on her way to a convincing first round victory at the Brisbane International.
Serena Williams on her way to a convincing first round victory at the Brisbane International.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Serena Williams starts new tennis season with straight sets win
  • She beats Varvara Lepchenko 6-2 6-1 in first round of Brisbane International.
  • 15-time grand slam champion has had foot surgery
  • Sister Venus stars as United States beat South Africa in Hopman Cup

(CNN) -- Serena Williams shrugged off injury concerns to win her first match of the new WTA season in convincing fashion in Brisbane Sunday.

The 15-time grand slam champion pulled out of an exhibition tournament in Thailand last week but showed she had fully recovered from a recent foot surgery with a 6-2 6-1 win over fellow American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2 6-1.

"My foot didn't hurt today," a Williams told the official Brisbane International website.

"I was a little nervous, but I was completely fine."

Is Serena Williams the greatest ever?
How do you beat Serena Williams?
Serena Williams' rise to greatness
Williams sisters show off dancing skills

Williams finished 2012 in ominous form, winning Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the season-ending WTA Championship, as well as taking double Olympic gold in London.

Read: Serena and Sharapova fight injuries ahead of new season

It was a return to her very best after an 18-month layoff through injury and illness, but she is only third in the world rankings due to previous inactivity and results.

The two women above, top seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Russia's Maria Sharapova, have both received first round byes for the tournament on the Gold Coast, which also hosts an ATP Tour event.

In other action Sunday, former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova made an impressive start with a 6-3 6-4 win over Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Poland's Urszula Radwanska beat Tamira Paszek of Austria 2-6 6-0 6-2, while home hope Jarmila Gajdosova shocked world number 16 Roberta Vinci of Italy 4-6 6-1 6-3 to set up a clash with second seed Sharapova.

Meanwhile, the elder sister of Serena Williams, seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams, played a key role in a 2-1 win for the United States over South Africa in Perth.

Williams, who has battled injuries and illness, came from a set down to beat Chanelle Scheepers 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the opening rubber.

Kevin Anderson beat John Isner in straight sets to draw the South Africans level before the concluding mixed doubles.

Williams and Isner combined to Anderson and Scheepers 6-3 6-2 to secure victory in the mixed team event.

In the other match on the second day of competition, Spain beat France 2-1.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga put France ahead as he beat Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-3, but Anabel Medina Garrigues leveled it for Spain with a 6-3 6-2 win over Mathilde Johansson.

Once again the mixed doubles proved the decider and Medina Garrigues and Verdasco paired to see off Johansson and Tsonga (FRA) 6-3 6-3.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1208 GMT (2008 HKT)
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
ADVERTISEMENT