Serena Williams in top form

Serena Williams of the US hits a return against Serbia's Nina Stojanovic during their women's singles match on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 10, 2021. (Photo by Paul CROCK / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images)
Serena Williams needed just 69 minutes to secure her second-round win. (Paul Crok/AFP via Getty Images)

As some players blame a COVID-19 quarantine for stunting their preparation for the Australian Open, Serena Williams so far appears unaffected.

The tournament’s No. 10 seed cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Nina Stojanovic in the second round Wednesday, following a 6-1, 6-1 over Laura Siegemund to open tournament play. Williams broke Stojanovic to take a 3-1 lead in the first set. Stojanovic managed to keep things as close as 5-3 from there, but didn’t win another game as Williams rolled.

Williams, a seven-time Australian Open champion, needed just 69 minutes to secure the win. She advances to the third round, where she’ll take on Russia’s Anastasia Potapova.

No. 8 seed Bianca Andreescu sees early exit after long layoff

Bianca Andreescu’s return to the Grand Slam stage came to a swift end. The 20-year-old Canadian fell in straight sets in the second round to Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday in just her second match since 2019.

Andreescu burst onto the scene that year, rising from outside the WTA top 100 to defeat Williams in the US Open final to secure her first Grand Slam title at 19 years old. A knee injury sidelined her for the start of the 2020 season, and she didn’t play the remainder of the year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada's Bianca Andreescu reacts during her second round match against Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Bianca Andreescu is a long way from her 2019 US Open form. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Andreescu entered Australian Open play as the No. 8 seed and secured a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu in the opening round. But she looked little like the player that rose to No. 4 in the world after her US Open run. Upon her exit early Wednesday, she was the highest-seeded player in the women’s draw to lose.

Hsieh, the No. 71 player in the world, advances to the third round while adding to her remarkable record against the world’s top competition. She improved to 8-2 in her career against top 10 players with Wednesday’s win.

“It’s strange — I normally feel more excited to play with better players,” Hsieh said after the match.

Stefanos Tsitsipas’ awkward/charming interview

In case you missed it, Stefanos Tsitsipas delivered the most entertaining moment of the tournament so far after his first-round win over France’s Gilles Simon on Tuesday. He simultaneously elicited laughs, groans and cheers from an Aussie Open crowd that’s clearly glad to be in the stands.

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