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The first set was 4-0 after 19 minutes at Hisense Arena when her tumble near the baseline diverted attention from center court, where a day session featuring Roger Federer, Andy Murray and women’s champion Azarenka was under way.

After some deep breaths, the 31-year-old Williams pulled herself together, got to her hands and knees for a few minutes and gradually to her feet.

Her already heavily taped ankle was assessed and re-taped. She went back on court and won the next four points to get herself to another changeover, and more attention from the doctor. She went back and held another service game to clinch the set, giving her time for more treatment.

“A very similar thing happened to me last year, almost on the same side, the same shot,” Williams said, referring to a fall that forced her to pull out of the Brisbane International last year and contributed to her fourth-round exit at the Australian Open.

Willilams said she expects to at least start her second-round match Thursday against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who beat Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-1, 14-12.

“Oh, I’ll be out there,” Williams said. “I mean, unless something fatal happens to me, there’s no way I’m not going to be competing. I’m alive. My heart’s beating. I’ll be fine.”

She’s still hopeful that if results go according to rankings, she’ll meet Azarenka in the semifinals. The 23-year-old Belarusian had a 6-1, 6-4 opening win over Monica Niculescu.

She progressed along with former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, and American teenager Sloane Stephens, who beat Simona Halep of Romania 6-1, 6-1.

In a matchup of two major winners, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated 2010 French Open titlist Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

And 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm upset 12th-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-2, 6-0 to set a record for being the oldest woman to win a singles match at the Australian Open.

“Some players’ mothers are younger than me,” she said, laughing.

Murray, playing his first match at a major since winning the U.S. Open and breaking a 76-year drought for British men at Grand Slam tournaments, defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

Second-ranked Federer beat Benoit Paire of France 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in his first competitive match of the season. Other men progressing included 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.