Williams sisters, Nadal into second round of Australian Open

MELBOURNE: Serena Williams easily defeated China''s Yuan Meng in her first 2009 Australian Open match, as she steamed into the second round of the tournament.

Williams defeated Yuan Meng 6-3, 6-2 in a match that lasted just 75 minutes, and was her own biggest enemy as she committed 31 unforced errors.

Serena''s sister, Venus, had a tougher time of things at Melbourne Park on Monday, facing a stern test from Germany''s Angelique Kerber.

After losing the first set, the German was 3-1 up at one stage in the second set. Venus Williams responded by going up a gear, winning 5 consecutive games to claim an impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal started his quest to become the first Spaniard to win an Australian Open singles title by conceding just four games in the first round.

Nadal beat Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Nadal produced 26 forehand winners, while 75th-ranked Rochus managed one.

In other second-day results, Fernando Gonzalez beat local favorite Lleyton Hewitt in five sets, while Serena and Venus Williams also advanced and Andy Murray’s opponent quit their match injured. James Blake also won.

Thirteenth-seeded Gonzalez, the 2007 runner-up, outlasted Hewitt of Australia 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the matchup of former Melbourne Park finalists. Gonzalez, seeking his first Grand Slam title, hit 67 winners -- more than twice as many as Hewitt.

Blake of the U.S. advanced to the second round with a straight-sets victory over Canada’s Frank Dancevic. Ninth-seeded Blake won 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 to extend his record of never losing his opening match at the year’s first Grand Slam.