MELBOURNE, Jan 18: Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams raced into the Australian Open second round today as the year�s first Grand Slam was rocked by claims of widespread match-fixing in tennis.
Former winners Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova also progressed smoothly on a day of high temperatures at Melbourne Park, where one ballboy felt faint and had to be helped from the court.
Djokovic�s main opponent was the 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) heat as, cooling himself with ice vests on the change-overs, the top seed dispatched Korean rising star Chung Hyeon 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Williams also made a positive return to competitive tennis, four months after a heartbreaking defeat in the US Open semi-finals ended her bid for a rare calendar-year Grand Slam.
Showing no discomfort from the swollen knee which forced her out of this month�s Hopman Cup mixed-team tournament, Williams toughed it out 6-4, 7-5 against Italy�s Camila Giorgi.
Williams, 34, is seeking an Open-era record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title, while Djokovic can become only the second man to win six Australian Open crowns after Roy Emerson.
Federer was also untroubled in his 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win over Georgia�s Nicoloz Basilashvili as he continued his quest for a record-extending 18th Grand Slam title.
Sharapova, the women�s winner in 2008, beat Japan�s Nao Hibino 6-1, 6-3 in just 73 minutes in her first match of the year after a forearm injury forced her out of the Brisbane International.
Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych and Australia�s Nick Kyrgios also went through without significant problems, while Caroline Wozniacki was the biggest casualty on day one.
The former world number one, who joined fellow seeds Sloane Stephens, Sara Errani and Ivo Karlovic on the sidelines, was stunned in three sets by Kazakhstan�s Yulia Putintseva.
Canada�s Eugenie Bouchard safely reached the second round, and Spain�s Carla Suarez earned applause when she helped a ballboy from the court as he swooned in high temperatures. � AFP