MELBOURNE (Reuters) – World number one Ash Barty produced a near flawless display as she handed out the dreaded ‘double bagel’ to Danka Kovinic, while Rafa Nadal defied his gloomy injury prognosis to crush Laslo Djere in the Australian Open first round on Tuesday.
Barty, looking to become the first homegrown champion at the Grand Slam since 1978, won the first 16 points of the contest and lost only 10 of 60 to set up a second-round match against compatriot Daria Gavrilova.
Nadal, who had pulled out of his nation’s ATP Cup campaign with a back problem, launched his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title with a 6-3 6-4 6-1 win against world number 56 Djere.
The Spaniard, looking for his first title at Melbourne Park since 2009, next faces American qualifier Michael Mmoh, who outlasted Viktor Troicki in a marathon five-setter.
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka struggled to find her best tennis and appeared to have breathing problems as she suffered a shock 7-5 6-4 defeat by main draw debutant Jessica Pegula.
An emotional Sofia Kenin found the going tough against local wildcard Maddison Inglis but battled to a 7-5 6-4 win to kickstart her title defence.
Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev extended his winning streak to 15 matches after seeing off Vasek Pospisil 6-2 6-2 6-4.
Mayar Sherif become the first Egyptian woman to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam when she toughed out a 7-5 7-5 win over fellow qualifier Chloe Paquet.
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Highlights of day two of the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park on Tuesday. All matches are first round. Times local (GMT +11):
2156 TSITSIPAS BEATS SIMON
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat France’s Gilles Simon 6-1 6-2 6-1 to reach the second round.
2140 BERRETTINI PASSES ANDERSON TEST
Italian ninth seed Matteo Berrettini sealed a hard-fought 7-6(9) 7-5 6-3 win over South African Kevin Anderson.
2135 MARTIC STUNNED BY SERBIAN QUALIFIER
Croatian 16th seed Petra Martic was knocked out 7-5 3-6 6-4 by Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic, ranked 183, who was making her Grand Slam main draw debut.
2102 KONTA RETIRES HURT IN SECOND SET
Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan advanced after world number 15 Johanna Konta retired hurt with an abdominal strain in the second set. The Briton was leading 6-4 0-2.
2027 FOGNINI WINS IN STRAIGHT SETS
Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 6-2 6-3. Fognini will next face compatriot Salvatore Caruso.
2003 BARTY BAGS EASY WIN
World number one Ash Barty handed a ‘double bagel’ to Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, beating her 6-0 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena. The 2020 semi-finalist Barty sent down five aces and hit 10 winners.
1835 SHERIF MAKES HISTORY FOR EGYPT
Qualifier Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam with a 7-5 7-5 win over French qualifier Chloe Paquet.
1823 PLISKOVA STORMS INTO SECOND ROUND
Czech sixth seed and 2019 semi-finalist Karolina Pliskova made short work of Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, winning 6-0 6-2 in just 47 minutes.
1735 NADAL BEATS DJERE
Spanish second seed Rafa Nadal defeated Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-3 6-4 6-1. The world number two will face American qualifier Michael Mmoh next.
1729 BAUTISTA AGUT CRASHED OUT
Moldova’s Radu Albot, ranked 85, knocked out Spanish 12th seed Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-7(1) 6-0 6-4 7-6(5) win.
1721 GOFFIN KNOCKED OUT BY LOCAL WILDCARD
Belgian 13th seed David Goffin crashed out following a 6-3 4-6 7-6(4) 6-7(6) 3-6 loss to Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin.
1640 MEDVEDEV CRUISES PAST POSPISIL
Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev advanced with a 6-2 6-2 6-4 victory over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. It was the world number four’s 15th consecutive win.
1500 SVITOLINA SETS UP GAUFF CLASH
Elina Svitolina squeezed past Czech Marie Bouzkova 6-3 7-6(5). Ukrainian Svitolina, the fifth seed, will next face Coco Gauff after the American beat Swiss Jil Teichmann 6-3 6-2.
1440 BENCIC THROUGH IN THREE SETS
Swiss 11th seed Belinda Bencic battled past American Lauren Davis 6-3 4-6 6-1. Bencic struck eight aces and 36 winners but has plenty of room for improvement, making 47 unforced errors.
Bencic will next face Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova.
1430 AZARENKA MAKES EARLY EXIT
Victoria Azarenka, the 12th seed, was dumped out in the first round after being beaten 7-5 6-4 by American main draw debutant Jessica Pegula.
Azarenka, who made 25 unforced errors and seven double faults, needed a medical timeout midway through the second set after appearing to have trouble breathing.
1345 BADOSA FAILS SAMSONOVA TEST
Spaniard Paula Badosa, the only confirmed case of COVID-19 among the playing group at the Australian Open, was beaten in the first round 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 7-5 by Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova.
Samsonova will next meet 14th seed Garbine Muguruza.
1245 KENIN’S TITLE DEFENCE UP AND RUNNING
Sofia Kenin kick-started her title defence with a 7-5 6-4 win over Australian wildcard Maddison Inglis. Kenin will next meet Kaia Kanepi.
MUGURUZA MARCHES INTO SECOND ROUND
Garbine Muguruza’s bid for a first Australian Open title began with a 6-4 6-0 thrashing of Russian lucky loser Margarita Gasparyan in the opening match at Margaret Court.
Twice Grand Slam champion Muguruza reached the final in Melbourne Park last year but lost to surprise package Sofia Kenin.
1110 PLAY GETS UNDERWAY
Play began under brilliant sunshine at Melbourne Park with the temperature hovering around 19 degrees Celsius (66.2°F).
There were no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported in the state of Victoria on Monday.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom, Simon Jennings, Manasi Pathak and Arvinbd Sriram; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Michael Perry)