Serena Williams has seen off Belinda Bencic in straight sets to reach the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne

Serena Williams breathed a sigh of relief after seeing off Belinda Bencic to reach the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Improving her phenomenal first-round record at grand slams to 66 wins and one defeat, Williams outclassed the highly rated Swiss teenager 6-4, 6-3 in one hour, 19 minutes on Tuesday.

The six-times champion wobbled trying to close out the match, losing three successive games from 3-0 in the second set, before advancing.

Shes such a great player. She was just recently in the top 10 so shes been playing great, the second seed said. It was one of the toughest first-round matches Ive played so I knew I had to come out strong.

Williams next plays Czech Lucie Safarova on Thursday in a rematch of their 2015 French Open final.

At 35, the 22-times major winner says she will continue to free-roll in her quest to catch Margaret Courts all-time record 22 grand slam singles titles.

Right now I have nothing to lose. Every match, every point, Im playing for fun, Williams said. I get to travel the world and play in these great areas so its self motivating.

Safarova earlier survived nine match points in her opener against Yanina Wickmayer, the Czech left-hander finally progressing 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-1.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jan/17/serena-williams-safely-through-to-australian-open-second-round

Serena Williams safely through to Australian Open second round
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