With the Melbourne mercury passing 40 degrees, it was a tough enough day for one tennis match, let alone two.
However, that’s exactly how Serena Williams spent her Thursday afternoon. After disposing of her round two singles opponent Garbine Muguruza in straight sets, the world No. 3 three teamed up with sister Venus for an opening round doubles encounter.
And the all-American duo, with 13 major titles and three Olympic gold medals in the bank, weren’t keen to hang around as they blasted their way past Camila Giorgi and Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour.
Australia’s Sam Stosur also took to the doubles court, teaming up with Germany’s Julia Goerges to unseat 16th seeds Daniela Hantuchova and Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-1.
Aside from that particular result, it was a day for the seeds on the women’s side of the draw. The fourth seeded combination of Ekaterina Makarova – well remembered for her stunning run to the quarterfinals in singles at Australian Open 2012 – and fellow Russian Elena Vesnina defeated Akgul Amanmuradova and Stephanie Foretz Gacon 6-2 7-5.
Ninth seeds Anna-Lena Groenfeld German and Kveta Peschke also progressed in straight sets, while 13th seeded Romanians Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu were equally comfortable in victory.
Overbearingly warm conditions set the scene for some upsets in the men’s doubles draw, with defending champions India’s Leander Paes and Czech Radek Stepanek the biggest names to be eliminated.
Seeded No.2 in this year’s tournament, Paes and Stepanek were stunned in the opening round, falling in straight sets to Kevin Anderson and Jonathan Erlich 6-3 7-5 in one hour and 29 minutes.
The South African/Israeli pair will now meet Australian duo John Millman and Matthew Barton, who caused an upset of their own out on Court 7. The wildcards came from a set down to topple fellow Aussie Marinko Matosevic, who teamed up with Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver, 3-6 6-4 7-5.
It was a similar tale for Australia’s John Peers and John-Paul Smith. The duo, also recipients of a wildcard entry, gave a patriotic home crowd even more to cheer about as they shocked the eighth seeded Polish combination of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in three sets.
The fourth seeded combination of Max Miryni and Horia Tecau, ranked seventh and eighth in the doubles world respectively, were pushed to two tiebreak sets by Philippine Treat Conrad Huey and Great Britain’s Dominic Inglot before claiming a 6-7(4) 7-6(8) 6-3 victory.
In what shapes as an intriguing matchup, the big-serving Belarusian and 27-year-old Colombian will have to contend with the natural flair of Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who progressed to the second round in straight sets.
After being eliminated in the opening round of singles, Martin Klizan returned to the winners list as he joined Romanian Victor Hanescu for a 6-3 6-4 victory over Germany’s Andre Begemann and Martin Emmrich.
While, in an all-Spanish affair, 11th seeds Fernando Verdasco and David Marrerro received an easy passage into the second round following the retirement of compatriots Feliciano Lopez and Roberto Bautista Agut after a first set tiebreak.