Briton Katie Boulter had to drop out in the first round on the opening day of the Australian Open when Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep started their campaigns

Boulter found it difficult to compete against former top 10 player Daria Kasatkina They lost 6-1 and 6-4 when the Grand Slam tournament finally started and was delayed by three weeks so that all players from abroad could be quarantined for two weeks

Boulter, who plays on a protected leaderboard as she works her way back from a back injury in 2019, went confidently into the tournament after two good wins last week and a narrow loss to Osaka in the Gippsland Trophy

But she struggled to find the court in the first set and made 18 casual mistakes. Boulter improved in the second set and saved four match points as she bounced from 5-2 to 5-4, but Kasatkina made it over the finish line

Boulter said: “I’m pretty disappointed today I felt like I never really got going, I felt pretty uncomfortable on the pitch I put a lot of pressure on myself when it was really absolutely unnecessary

“The conditions were a little different today, it felt heavier, the ball jumped higher. She has a different kind of swing than many girls and I was really struggling to just get one rhythm and get into matches and competitions I’m pretty upset about it “

Travel restrictions mean it’s a tough challenge to put together a schedule that will allow her to play as much as possible, but Boulter remains confident that she can work her way back to the top of the game

“I’ve worked so hard on my body that, first of all, I really hope I stay fit I believe it is me and that is my ultimate goal for this year as it is every year, “she said,

“But since I feel like I showed it last week – unfortunately not this week – the game is there to beat some of these top players, and I just feel like I can last longer gotta get stronger i gotta get better and it will come out when it feels like coming out it always does

“The more positive weeks I get, the more I feel like I’m getting closer to my goal. I believe that at some point I’ll be there and continue to work hard”

Williams wore an eye-catching one-legged catsuit, which she later revealed and which was inspired by Florence Griffith Joyner, the athletics star of the 1980s In just 56 minutes, Williams pushed the German Laura Siegemund aside with 6: 1 and 6: 1

The 39-year-old started nervously in her 100 Match of the tournament and dropped serve in the opening game, but won the next 10 to compete with Nina Stojanovic in the second round

Williams had retired from last week’s warm-up event with a shoulder problem and said, “I was glad to just get through. I wasn’t sure what my serve would be like after a little bit off that shoulder, but it was feels good, I feel good “

She hurried off to see another evergreen athlete, Tom Brady, win his seventh Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the age of 43

“I’ve only seen as much as I could see,” she said, “My only word is that it’s incredible. I kept saying,” This is incredible, this is unreal””

Games in the first round of Grand Slams were rarely a problem for Williams, who lost just one out of 77 in her long career with the majors

It was a successful day for the Williams family as Venus celebrated its first Grand Slam victory since 2019

The 40-year-old who won the 88 Grand Slam main draw plays at a record high, defeated the 35-year-old Kirsten Flipkens 7: 5: 6: 2

Like Williams, Osaka withdrew from last week’s warm-up event with a shoulder problem, but made it clear that this was a precautionary measure and was in good shape in the 6-16-2 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Pavlyuchenkova had reached the quarter-finals in three of the last four years, but Osaka was way too sharp, won the first four games and hardly made a mistake

In what seemed like a tough tie, Osaka said: “It’s always very difficult to play in the first round against someone who is that good. I feel like it would have helped somehow because I calmed my nerves because I felt like I couldn’t afford to be so nervous “

The win extended Osaka’s one-year run to 15 games, and she cited last year’s loss to Coco Gauff in Melbourne as a turning point in her mental approach

The third seed, who won their third major US Open title last summer, said, “I think shortly after she lost here to Coco because she’s the kind of person I never lose to in this situation wanted to I’m just the defending champion and I lost to her in such a high profile game I think that really shocked me

“I actually played a game in the Fed Cup in Spain that I don’t know if a lot of people knew about (6-0, 6-3 against Sara Sorribes Tormo)

“There were just a lot of things that happened there, around that time, that really got me thinking a lot about my life and what is the reason – do I play tennis to prove things to other people or do I play in front of Have fun because I enjoy it? “

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The French Open champion Iga Swiatek has to contend with the various pressures to be a Grand Slam winner, but the Pole successfully mastered her first hurdle and defeated Arantxa Rus 6-1 to 6-3

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World No 2 Halep went into the second round and only dropped three games against home favorite Lizette Cabrera

Halep opened the evening event in the Rod Laver Arena and put the 23-year-old by the sword He won 6-2 6-1 in just 59 minutes

The Romanian has her eye on her first title in Melbourne after reaching the final in 2018

The three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber was a shock victim. The German, one of 72 players who had to endure a severe quarantine, lost the first nine games in a 0: 6: 6: 4 defeat against Bernarda Pera

“Of course, you feel it when you are off the bat and out of rhythm for two weeks,” Kerber told reporters after her earliest exit from Melbourne Park in six years

“I really tried to stay positive and get the best out of the two week situation, but you can feel it, especially when you play one of the first games in a Grand Slam against an opponent who hasn’t stayed in the tough situation Lock “

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Naomi Osaka, Venus Williams

World news – AU – Australian Open: Katie Boulter leaves as Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka sail through the first round