Venus crushes Rus to set up Kvitova showdown in Yarra Valley Classic

·2 min read
WTA Premier 5 - Italian Open

(Reuters) - Former world number one Venus Williams produced a vintage display to outclass Netherlands' Arantxa Rus in straight sets and storm into the second round of the Yarra Valley Classic as a packed week of Australian Open warm-up events kicked off on Sunday.

The 40-year-old American broke serve twice in each set to canter to a 6-1 6-3 victory in a little over an hour and set up a date with fourth seed Petra Kvitova in the next round.

American 13th seed Danielle Collins also had a straightforward outing as she eased to a 6-3 6-3 win against Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure. She was joined in the second round by compatriot Shelby Rogers, who upset 12th seed Fiona Ferro 6-2 7-5.

Australia's Daria Gavrilova opted to skip karaoke night with a friend and instead made Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova dance to her tunes, racing to a 6-2 6-0 win in under just 65 minutes.

"I missed a big event with my friend Greg's birthday and going to karaoke and I was pretty upset about that and thought I had to lock it in today," said the 26-year-old, who faces 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams next after the American received a first-round bye.

Also advancing was Czech Republic's Marie Bouzkova, who downed home favourite and former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-0.

Unseeded Romanian Ana Bogdan crushed Russian teenager Kamilla Rakhimova 6-2 6-2 to set up a date with top seed Ash Barty.

The tournament is one of six arranged by Tennis Australia before the start of the Australian Open to allow players a chance of some match action after two weeks in quarantine hotels.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)