Serena and Wozniacki play doubles against Auckland

<pre><pre>Serena and Wozniacki play doubles against Auckland

Serena Williams (L) and Caroline Wozniacki respond to a question during a press conference on March 8, 2016 in New York. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid / File Photo

(Reuters) – Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki teamed up for the first time in doubles at the Auckland Classic on Monday to beat Japanese couple Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-2: 6.

Wozniacki will retire later this month after the Australian Open and Williams said she wanted to work with the Dane before hanging up her racket.

"I had to play with her before she retired," said 38-year-old Williams. After the win, the vacant couple advanced to the quarter-finals, where they competed with the top seeds Caroline Dolehide and Johanna Larsson.

The Japanese duo struggled in the early stages to cope with Williams' mighty serve before they got the measure of the American veteran to break them once.

But Williams and Wozniacki, who seemed relaxed throughout the game and even had time to joke with each other, pushed on in the second set and finished the game in 71 minutes.

Williams and Wozniacki start their individual campaigns in Auckland on Tuesday.

In the individual games on Monday, Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia won eighth over American Taylor Townsend 5: 7: 6: 3: 7: 5. The game lasted more than two and a half hours.

The American teenager Coco Gauff, who is the youngest player in the draw at the age of 15, mastered last year's semi-finalist Viktoria Kuzmova's challenge with an impressive 6-3 win in 61 minutes.

The sixth start number, Rebecca Peterson, went to the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek 7-6 (7) 7-6 (5).

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Edited by Peter Rutherford