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By Greg Stutchbury
MELBOURNE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Venus Williams joined her younger sister Serena in the second round of the Australian Open after crafting a 6-3 6-3 victory over Germany’s Angelique Kerber on Tuesday.
Sixth seed Williams, who is still seeking her first title at Melbourne Park despite having five Wimbledon and two U.S. Open titles, raced out to a 5-0 first set before her left-handed opponent finally offered some resistance.
”I think she played well. She was left handed and I think she used that to her advantage,“ Williams told reporters. ”She definitely started to play really well.
“I was really happy to be able to be out there and hit a lot of balls and find a rhythm and advance.”
After Williams took the 5-0 first-set lead, the world number 100 then won the next three games and saved a set point.
The 28-year-old Williams, however, snapped out of her funk to hold serve and take the first set and said she was not too worried about the German’s fightback.
“She was going for a lot in those first five games, a lot really fast, trying to hit winners, great shots. I think she started to get a few more in play,” Williams said of Kerber’s play.
“At 5-3, I still feel extremely confident because I‘m serving. It’s what I want to do, is serve it out. So I felt comfortable.”
Kerber put up a tougher challenge in the second, having two opportunities on serve to take a 4-1 lead.
Williams again responded to level at 3-3 and broke to take a 4-3 lead, at which point Kerber sought treatment on her heavily strapped right knee.
The injury break only delayed the inevitable and the world number six steamrolled to victory by holding serve and breaking to love to seal the win in 80 minutes. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Pritha Sarkar)