Brisbane, Australia (Sports Network) - Serena Williams opened her season with a first-round victory over Varvara Lepchenko on Sunday as the 2013 WTA season got underway at the Brisbane International, a hardcourt Australian Open tune- up.
Williams, the No. 3 seed, cruised past Lepchenko 6-2, 6-1 in 59 minutes on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.
The 31-year-old Williams is coming off minor surgery on her big toes which forced her to withdraw from an exhibition match in Thailand on Dec. 29.
Williams was named the WTA Player of the Year in 2012 after winning Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, London Olympics, and season-ending Championships.
Sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-4 and will next do battle with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who outlasted Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
In other matches, Daniela Hantuchova took down Lourdes Dominguez Lino 7-5, 6-2, Jarmila Gajdosova rallied past Roberta Vinci 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 and Urszula Radwanska outlasted Tamira Paszek 2-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Estonian Kaia Kanepi beat Slovak Daniela Hantuchova in last year's finale here.