Skip to main content

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

updated 3:08 PM EST, Sun December 30, 2012
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
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Wed March 5, 2014
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
ADVERTISEMENT