The organization of the Australian Open 2021 has long been troubled because of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has plagued the world. In the state of Victoria there have been many protests, related to direct flights to Australia, which have brought new positives to the country and a lot of controversy.
Controversy also for the different quarantine between top-players and other tennis players, in Adelaide and Melbourne. But now it's time to play, now it's time to rewrite history. Meanwhile players are playing tournaments in preparation for the Australian Slam: the ATP Great Ocean Road Open, the ATP Murray River Open, the WTA Gippsland Trophy and the WTA Yarra Valley Classic, all in Melbourne.
At the Gippsland Trophy Elina Svitolina gets rid of Andrea Petkovic with the final score of 6-4 6-1, while she needs in parallel the tie break of the third set Cori Gauff, to reach the second round against Jili Teichmann.
Seeding number one Simona Halep does not make any particular changes to the day's project against Anastasija Potapova. The 6-4 6-4 that she builds in just over ninety minutes of play testifies to this. At the Yarra Valley Classic, Karolina Pliskova defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto.
Serena Williams, still on the hunt for the twenty-fourth Grand Slam pearl, comes to 2021 without giving too much attention to the pleasantries. A classic. The US champion in fact folds Daria Gavrilova (who has disappeared from the upper floors for a handful of years now) with a 6-1 6-4 that strengthens with 75% of the points with the first ball and with more than twenty winning shots.
The American confirmed the advantage with a forehand drive-volley winner in game six that sent her 4-2 in front and closer to the finish line. Gavrilova survived the seventh game to remain within one break deficit and reached deuce on the return for the first time since the opening game a few minutes later.
Serena stayed calm and brought the game home, leading 5-3 and serving for the victory in game ten. The American sealed the deal with a powerful forehand down the line winner, notching the first official victory of the season following that Adelaide triumph over Naomi Osaka in three sets a couple of days ago.
Williams will have to work hard in the next match against Tsvetlana Pironkova, facing the Bulgarian at the last year's US Open and prevailing in three sets after a massive fight. Tsvetana Pironkova could represent an obstacle for her, beaten with great pain at Flushing Meadows a handful of months ago before her forfeit at Roland Garros.