SHE wasn't impressed with the winds whipping around Pat Rafter Arena and managed to look bored at times as she trudged between points. But it was a matter of taking care of business for Serena Williams in the opening round of the Brisbane International.
Williams was far too good for countrywoman Varvara Lepchenko, the world No.21, who was born in Uzbekistan but now resides in Pennsylvania, dispatching her casually 6-2, 6-1 to begin her assault on the Australian Open.
It was a low-key start to the summer of tennis for Williams, the third seed who had a brilliant 2012 that included an Olympic gold medal and a fourth US Open crown. She never really lurched out of first gear and still managed to wrap up proceedings in 59 minutes.
It took the victorious match point for Williams to show any emotion, aside from the odd knee slap and a reserved fist pump at the end of the first set. When she did, she blew kisses to the crowd.
She heads into a second round meeting with Frenchwoman Alize Cornet or Australian qualifier Bojana Bobusic, who upset Czech Kristyna Pliskova 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Williams struggled to adjust her ball toss to the strong winds swirling through the semi-open arena at the beginning of the match but was soon into her stride, overpowering Lepchenko with little trouble aside from a pair of dropped games in the first that reduced her 4-0 lead to 4-2.
Williams withdrew from the last Brisbane International with an ankle injury and will be hoping for a happier run into the year's first grand slam event this time around.
Earlier, an emotional Jarmila Gajdosova ended a horror 2012 with a stirring triumph, upsetting world No.16 Roberta Vinci.
Scoring her first win in a main-draw match since the French Open, Gajdosova came from a set down to eliminate the Italian 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the first round at Pat Rafter Arena. The Slovak-born Melbourne baseliner reached a career-high ranking of No.25 in 2011 but had fallen to 183 following the death of her mother in September, coming after her marriage break-up with fellow tennis tour player Sam Groth.
Gajdosova shed tears when she closed out the 110-minute match by breaking Vinci's serve for the third time in the third set. She will next play second-seed Maria Sharapova in the second round on Tuesday.
Vinci's serve dominated the first set but the powerful Gajdosova turned the tide in the second as she broke the world No.1 doubles player twice, and then carried on to be 4-1 up in the third.
It was the second Australian success on the opening day of the tournament as Perth late-bloomer Bobusic enjoyed her tense qualifying upset of Pliskova in hot and windy conditions.
It was the 25-year-old's third straight three-set win in qualifying to propel her into the main draw.
The Belgrade-born Bobusic, who completed a sociology degree at the University of California, won the Australian Open wildcard play-off a fortnight ago in Melbourne.