Former world No. 1 Venus Williams has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open by virtue of a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kazakhstani Galina Voskoboeva.
Williams is the No. 25 seed in this tournament, and she was expected to beat Voskoboeva, who is ranked No. 80 in the world.
Still, there were plenty of reasons to entertain the thought of an upset here. Williams, 32, has battled serious health issues over recent years, and she has participated in a sporadic playing schedule.
In fact, this is her first tournament since last October, when she won the WTA Luxembourg Open.
Meanwhile, Voskoboeva was coming off a fine showing at the Apia International in Sydney earlier this month where she advanced to the Round of 16.
Despite the accumulation of rust, Williams persevered. She will now look to try and turn the momentum gained from this match into a long run at the Australian Open, which has never been her strongest tournament.
Surprisingly, of Williams' seven major titles, she has never claimed one at the Australian. Given her big serves and ability to blast winners from all over the court, it is natural to think she would have had more success on the hard courts in Melbourne.
Still, she has only advanced to the final once at the year's first major, and that was back in 2003. Since then, she has not advanced past the quarterfinals.
Next up for Venus is the winner of the match between Alize Cornet and Marina Erakovic. After that is when things will really start getting interesting as a possible matchup with No. 2-seeded Maria Sharapova looms.
Given Venus' age, recent health issues and lack of playing activity, she remains a huge long shot to make a run to this title.
While it is easy to count Williams out for all the aforementioned reasons, she is one of the game's great competitors, and as she proved in Luxembourg, she still has the goods to take a tournament title.
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