MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Highlights of the opening day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday, all times local (GMT +11):
* Ash Barty showed a good host can lift spirits at the most subdued of parties as she thumped Lesia Tsurenko 6-0 6-1 in a blistering start at the Australian Open to reach the second round.
* Rafa Nadal is taking no pleasure from the absence of great rival Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, even if it means he has a clearer shot at the Grand Slam title record.
* Alexander Zverev took time to warm up and had to dig deep against fellow German Daniel Altmaier in his first match of the Australian Open as the world number three kick-started his bid to add a maiden Grand Slam title to his Olympic gold.
* Naomi Osaka said she is enjoying her tennis again and is having fun on the Tour after the defending champion overcame an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Colombian Camila Osorio in her opening round match.
0027 KARATSEV DOWNS MUNAR IN FIVE-SETTER
Aslan Karatsev followed up his victory in the Sydney International final with a gruelling five set win over Jaume Munar, prevailing 3-6 7-6(1) 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4 in a contest that went on for four hours and 52 minutes.
Karatsev, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2021, will take on Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.
2348 BADOSA STORMS PAST LOCAL TOMLJANOVIC
Paula Badosa overcame a leg injury in the first set to break Ajla Tomljanovic’s serve three times in the second and beat the Australian 6-4 6-0.
Badosa, who beat French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in the Sydney International final on Saturday, will face qualifier Martina Trevisan in the next round.
2315 RUSTY ZVEREV BEATS COMPATRIOT ALTMAIER
World number three Alexander Zverev battled through a couple of tight sets to defeat compatriot Daniel Altmaier 7-6(3) 6-1 7-6(1) and set up a second round match against John Millman.
“Not much went to plan today, to be honest, except that I won. You’re not going to play your best tennis all the time though, unless you’re Roger (Federer) or Rafa (Nadal),” Zverev said.
2012 BARTY OFF TO STRONG START ON HOME SOIL
World number one Ash Barty needed less than an hour to advance to the second round after starting her campaign with an emphatic 6-0 6-1 victory over qualifier Lesia Tsurenko.
The home favourite, who won the Adelaide International title earlier this month, will play Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti for a place in the third round.
2000 KEYS KNOCKS OUT KENIN
Madison Keys fired 15 aces en route to eliminating 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin 7-6(2) 7-5 in the all-American clash on the John Cain Arena.
Former Flushing Meadows finalist Keys won her first title since 2019 at the Adelaide International 2 warm-up event last week.
1940 BERRETTINI OVERCOMES STOMACH TROUBLE FOR WIN
Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini had to overcome more than just his opponent Brandon Nakashima to advance in Melbourne as he also battled stomach problems during his three-hour and 10-minute victory.
The Italian had to take three bathroom breaks during the match and wrote ‘grazie’ (thank you) to Imodium on the camera lens after his win.
1920 OSTAPENKO FIGHTS BACK AGAINST SCHMIEDLOVA
Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko rallied from a set down to prevail 6-7(7) 6-4 6-1 over Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
She will next face American Alison Riske, who beat Donna Vekic 6-2 6-2 for her first victory in a Grand Slam match since the 2020 U.S. Open.
1820 KREJCIKOVA ADVANCES WITH STATEMENT VICTORY
French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova kicked off her Australian Open campaign by dispatching Andrea Petkovic in 67 minutes, hitting 28 winners en route to a clinical 6-2 6-0 victory.
Coming off the back of a fine run to the Sydney Tennis Classic final, the 26-year-old Czech will be looking to progress beyond the second round at Melbourne Park for the first time.
1814 HURKACZ MARCHES INTO SECOND ROUND
Polish 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz saw off Egor Gerasimov 6-2 7-6(3) 6-7(5) 6-3 in just over three hours to set up a second- round meeting with Adrian Mannarino, who won a thrilling five-setter against Australian James Duckworth.
Earlier, unseeded American Sebastian Korda dumped British number one Cameron Norrie out of the tournament with a 6-3 6-0 6-4 victory.
1750 AZARENKA SURGES, WANG SENDS GAUFF PACKING
Double Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka downed Panna Udvardy 6-3 6-1 for her first victory in Melbourne in six years. Wang Qiang beat American teenager Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2 for her first win on the Tour since last year’s Roland Garros.
1642 NADAL TOO GOOD FOR GIRON
Rafa Nadal, the only former champion in the men’s draw, cruised into the second round with a 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory over unseeded American Marcos Giron.
The 2009 champion had warmed up for the Grand Slam by winning his 89th Tour-level title in Melbourne earlier this month. He plays German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann or Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis next.
1616 BERRETTINI SURVIVES NAKASHIMA SCARE
Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini made a slow start before finding his rhythm to get past unseeded American Brandon Nakashima 4-6 6-2 7-6(5) 6-3 to reach the second round.
Denis Shapovalov was also made to work hard by Serb Laslo Djere before sealing a 7-6(3) 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) win, while 17th-seed Gael Monfils downed Federico Coria 6-1 6-1 6-3.
1555 JABEUR OUT WITH BACK INJURY
Ninth seed Ons Jabeur, the 2020 quarter-finalist, pulled out of the tournament with a back injury that she sustained during the Sydney Tennis Classic. The Tunisian was replaced by Irina Bara who lost 6-3 6-1 to Nuria Parrizas Diaz.
1429 OSAKA QUELLS OSORIO CHALLENGE
Defending champion Naomi Osaka had some nervy moments after going up 5-0 in the opening set but settled to beat Colombian Camila Osorio 6-3 6-3 in their first meeting.
Osaka, who next faces Madison Brengle, spoke about her blue and pink outfit after the match.
“Apparently, it has asymmetrical lines and it’s supposed to represent the Melbourne skyline. I don’t know, I also like the colour, I haven’t worn hot pink in a little minute.”
Earlier, China’s Zheng Qinwen earned her first victory in a Grand Slam by defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 1-6 7-6(5).
1359 ALCARAZ, VUKIC ADVANCE
Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who reached the U.S. Open quarter-finals, beat Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo 6-2 6-2 6-3 while Australian wildcard Aleksandar Vukic stunned 30th seed Lloyd Harris 4-6 6-3 7-5 7-6(3).
Belarusian Ilya Ivashka withdrew from the tournament due to a leg injury and was replaced by ‘lucky loser’ Damir Dzumhur, who will play Pablo Andujar on Tuesday.
1301 SAKKARI MOVES PAST GERMAN MARIA
Maria Sakkari withstood a late charge from Tatjana Maria to beat the German 6-4 7-6(2) on Rod Laver Arena.
“We all know that first rounds are not easy, credit to Tatjana, she played a really great match,” said Sakkari. “I was a little bit stressed because I was, kind of, opening up the tournament on this wonderful court.”
Olympic champion Belinda Bencic eased past France’s Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-3 while 15th-seed Elina Svitolina beat Fiona Ferro 6-1 7-6(4).
1219 GIORGI SWEEPS INTO SECOND ROUND
Camila Giorgi was the first player into the second round at the 2022 championships after completing a 6-4 6-0 victory over Anastasia Potapova on court six.
The 30th seeded Italian clinched the victory when her Russian opponent double faulted for the fifth time in the match and will next face Czech Tereza Martincova or American Lauren Davis.
1110 PLAY UNDERWAY AT MELBOURNE PARK
After 10 days dominated by the Novak Djokovic visa saga, play at the 110th Australian Open got underway as scheduled under cloudy skies.
The temperature was a cool 18 degrees Celsius (64 degreesFahrenheit) with a maximum of 23 forecast.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Shrivathsa Sridhar, Hritika Sharma and Aadi Nair, editing by Peter Rutherford, Ed Osmond, Timothy Heritage and Christian Radnedge)