Australian Open: V. Williams d. Voskoboeva

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MELBOURNE—Venus Williams walked into Hisense Arena for her first-round match against Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan, and then walked right back off. She took a bathroom break before there was anything to take a break from. It would be the only thing that slowed her down today. Sixty minutes later, she had marched to an impressively efficient 6-1, 6-0 win over the world No. 80.
Voskoboeva, 28, who was ranked as high as No. 42 last year, won the first game with an ace. But that’s all she would win. It took a few minutes for Williams to find her range, but she was aggressively searching for it from the start. At 1-1, 15-30, she set up an easy forehand only to net it. At break point, she did the same, only to push the shot long. But she was off to the races after a forehand drop shot on her second break point found the outside of the sideline. It may have actually missed the sideline, but for some reason, Voskoboeva, after giving it a long look, declined to challenge.
Williams was soon up 4-1 and serving, but a couple of forehand winners from her opponent earned two break points. This was the set’s only point of contention. Williams saved both break points with service winners, and held with two aces. Something similar happened in the second set, when Williams was serving at 2-0. Again she faced two break points, and again she came up with two service winners. When Venus held with a big forehand, Voskoboeva smacked her racquet on the court. That was the last scrap of fight she could muster.
This was just the match the 32-year-old Williams wanted as an opener. It was over quickly, which will let her conserve her energy, and she moved and hit the ball well—she finished with 21 winners against 10 errors. Voskoboeva’s most interesting shot is her backhand drop, but Venus tracked it down well. And her sometimes-wonky forehand never wobbled. One more win, and she’ll almost surely have a third-round date with Maria Sharapova. The Russian won even more easily today, 0 and 0, but Venus looked every bit as sharp.
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