The Latest: Venus Williams fined $5,000 for avoiding media
Venus Williams of the United States wipes the sweat from her face during a break in her first round match against Johanna Konta of Britain at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The latest Wednesday from the Australian Open (all times local):
Venus Williams has been fined $5,000 by tournament organizers for skipping a news conference after her first-round exit at the Australian Open.
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The Australian Open announced the fine Wednesday after a meeting by the committee of Grand Slam supervisors.
On Tuesday, No. 8-seeded Williams trudged off Rod Laver Arena after her surprising 6-4, 6-3 loss to Johanna Konta, a British player making her debut in the Grand Slam's main draw.
The $5,000 fine is the highest a female player has faced for skipping a mandatory news conference, and the second highest since Marat Safin was fined $10,000 at the 2001 French Open.
Maria Sharapova became the first player to advance to the third round at the Australian Open when she beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-2, 6-1.
Sharapova's match on Rod Laver Arena was one of only three that began on schedule – the other two were also in stadiums with covered roofs – after light rain delayed play for just over an hour on outside courts.
The fifth-seeded Sharapova's only stumbles came when she her had her service broken twice in the opening set, including when she held two set points while serving at 5-1.
Sharapova, who won the title here in 2008 and has reached three other finals, completed the win in 71 minutes and will next play either Lauren Davis of the U.S. or Magadalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.
Light rain is falling at Melbourne Park, delaying the start of play on side courts at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Tournament officials said play would not start on those courts until at least 11:30 a.m. Ball boys and girls were sponging the courts off.
Melbourne Park has three stadiums with retractable roofs – Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Hisense Arena. Play began as scheduled on those courts, including the opening match on Rod Laver between fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich.