Serena advances at Open despite rolling ankle
Williams routed Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday despite the scary sequence in the first part of the match.
The No. 3-ranked Williams is favored to win the season’s first major, rolling into Melbourne Park with 35 wins in her previous 36 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics and the U.S. Open. But the injury could be a significant setback as she seeks a third consecutive Grand Slam title.
Need the scores from any match played in the Australian Open? Results
Williams said there was pain and swelling in her ankle and X-rays were an option, but she wanted to leave any decisions about treatment for a few hours.
“I’ve been injured before,” she said. “I’ve played this tournament with so many injuries and was able to come off pretty on top. So for me it’s just another page and a great story to tell the grandkids one day.”
With a packed program on the center court, Williams was playing on the second of the show courts.
The 31-year-old American was leading 4-0 after 19 minutes when she fell awkwardly chasing a ball wide on her forehand side, putting both hands over her face.
She rolled from her back to her hands and knees, where she stayed for several minutes before she was helped to her feet. The 15-time major winner started limping before easing into a walking stride as she made her way to her court-side chair to have her already heavily taped ankle treated and then re-taped.
“I think I was really, really close to panicking because a very similar thing happened to me last year, almost on the same side, the same shot,” Williams said. “So I almost panicked, and I thought, I can’t do that. I just have to really remain calm and think things through.”
Williams won the first point after the medical timeout, approaching the net to hit a cross-court winner, seemingly unfazed by the ankle. She hit two more forehand winners to go up 5-0, then called the trainer back to the court to adjust the taping on the ankle during the changeover. She had more treatment after winning the first set.
Williams winced slightly after jumping to hit an overhead in the third game of the second set and called the trainer out again to re-tape the ankle during the changeover, leading 3-0.
She dominated the second set despite the injury, allowing the Romanian player to win just six points.
Venus Williams congratulated her sister later, tweeting: “Wow, @serenawilliams is so awesome, to finish her match with injury with out loosing a game, a true champ!”
In earlier matches Tuesday, 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm upset No. 12-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-2, 6-0, and former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki won the last six games to beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Former U.S. Open and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova continued her comeback from a knee injury that kept her out of the U.S. Open, ending her run of 40 consecutive majors. Also, No. 14 Maria Kirilenko had a 6-4, 6-2 win over American Vania King, and China’s Peng Shuai beat Canada’s Rebecca Marino 6-3, 6-0.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.