Seles cruises through Melbourne opener

Monica Seles romped to a quickfire victory in her opening match at the Australian Open.

Seles and her opponent, Slovakia’s Lubomira Kurhajcova, were kept waiting in the changing rooms due to the over-running of Lleyton Hewitt’s match.

But once they got on court, it was over in the blink of an eye as Seles wrapped up a 6-0 6-1 win in 45 minutes.

Seles reeled off nine games before the 19-year-old Slovak held serve. She gave Kurhajcova a few moments to raise her arms in celebration, the only high point of her night, then got straight back to work.

“It was tough. We waited so long for the match and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Seles, a four-time Australian Open champion.

“She hits it so hard and I’m just happy I played aggressively enough to win in two easy sets.”

The American needed just 17 minutes to take the first set in the night session without losing a game, and gave up just one in the next. She hit 21 winners to her rival’s six.

Seles said she likes Melbourne and has a good record here, never failing to reach the quarter-finals and claiming almost half of her nine Grand Slam titles down under.

Though not among the main contenders to the Williams sisters, Seles remains confident about her ability.

In the latter stages of her career, the 29-year-old Seles said she was feeling no pressure and that had been “the case for the past three or four years.”

“I’m just at the very happy stage in my career where my body is still letting me play, I’m still enjoying working hard and playing some good, solid tennis,” she said.

Seles next faces qualifier Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic. She didn’t know much about Koukalova, but said she’d “ask around” to find out some information.