Serena Williams sparkles at star-studded Melbourne Park

Serena Williams sparkles at star-studded Melbourne Park

"A little devastating for me", Kenin said following her 5-7 7-5 6-1 victory over fellow American Jessica Pegula on Wednesday.

Australia's world number one advanced to the quarter-finals in her first tournament back, with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Czech Marie Bouzkova. She's still on track for a semi-final match against top-ranked Ash Barty.

Tennis Australia responded by calling off all play at the tuneup tournaments scheduled for Thursday.

Resetting, Osaka found her range on serve, applied more spin to her shots and began dictating the direction of rallies with her forehand.

The world's top-six female players, as well as 23-time grand slam victor Serena Williams, former Open champions Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber, and French Open titleholder Iga Swiatek were all on show.

Heather Watson was also in action in her first match out of quarantine, the 28-year-old comfortably beaten 6-2 6-2 by Russian Veronika Kudermetova in the first round of the Grampians Trophy.

After the WTA event, Osaka will feature at the Australian Open 2021 in Melbourne Park.

The 39-year-old Swiss has been out of action since February 2020 and shelved plans in December to compete in the Australian Open, which makes a delayed start next week.

Osaka said she had buckled under the pressure of being the defending champion and called the loss "a wake-up call".

She didn't mind the extra work.

"I haven't played a match since the final in NY, I was definitely really nervous going into it", said Osaka, who won the Australian Open in 2019.

"It just felt like a new experience playing here again after such a long while", Osaka said.

Things got more complicated later Wednesday, when the state government announced that a worker at one of the tournament's three Melbourne quarantine hotels had tested positive for COVID-19.

Kenin now faces a rematch of last year's Australian Open final after number six seed Garbine Muguruza raced past Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-2 in less than an hour.

At the All-England Club in 2018 she was dismissed 6-3 6-3 by Angelique Kerber and a year later humbled 6-2 6-2 by Simona Halep.

Osaka will next play Irina Begu, who upset fifth-seeded Johanna Konta 4-6, 7-6 (10), 7-6 (4).

Nishimura, who is from Tokyo and moved to Melbourne 18 months ago, and Yoshiharu got to see Osaka, who collected one of her three Grand Slam trophies at Melbourne in 2019, beat Katie Boulter 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Margaret Court Arena.

Other major champions in the draw include Sloane Stephens and Svetlana Kuznetsova, who both lost in the first round.

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