MELBOURNE. — Dominic Thiem overcame an early wobble before overpowering Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-3 to reach the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.
The third seed Thiem was broken twice in the first set and had to fight off a set point at 6-5 before rallying to take the tiebreak at Rod Laver Arena.
The Austrian, beaten in a five-set final by Novak Djokovic last year, found his rhythm and ended up racing to the finish, breaking Kukushkin to love to seal the match.
The US Open champion Thiem will meet the winner of Dominik Koepfer and Hugo Dellien for a place in the third round.
Serena Williams put on a vintage display of power tennis to ease into the second round with a 6-1, 6-1 drubbing of Germany’s Laura Siegemund before rushing off court to catch the end of the Super Bowl.
First-round matches at Grand Slams have rarely presented a problem for the 39-year-old American, who has lost just one of 77 over her long career at the majors.
Williams admitted to some concern that a shoulder injury which forced her to withdraw from her warm-up tournament last week would hinder her serve, and that perhaps explained her double fault on the opening point of the match.