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Serena swats doubts, Bencic aside to reach second round

Serena swats doubts, Bencic aside to reach second round
January 17, 2017
MELBOURNE - Serena Williams launched her bid for a 23rd grand slam title with a 6-4 6-3 win over Belinda Bencic at the Australian Open on Tuesday, swatting aside doubts over her fitness and motivation on a sweltering day at Melbourne Park. The 35-year-old American came into the tie with two matches under her belt since the US Open last September but moved superbly under a hot sun at Rod Laver Arena to rout the Swiss talent in 79 minutes. Kept honest for most of the first set, Williams ramped up the pressure at 4-4 to win seven straight games before Bencic stalled her victory charge with a late rally. Williams wobbled with a double-fault on match point but smashed a volley on her second to close it out and set up a second round clash against Czech Lucie Safarova. -Reuters