Halep cuts it short
World No.4 Simona Halep was the biggest casualty on Day One following a 6-3 6-1 defeat by Shelby Rogers. Halep, who last year was beaten in the first round by qualifier Zhang Shuai in Melbourne, explained after her match that she has tendinitis in her left knee and will need an MRI scan.
Halep came to Australia earlier than normal, spending some time training with coach Darren Cahill in Adelaide and enjoying Christmas day in the warm weather. “I had very different Christmas,” she said before the match. “It was fun. I was in shorts.”
Not so much fun today.
Speaking of short…
Aussie, Nick Kyrgios was in no mood to hang around on Monday. The Australian No.1 raced past Gastao Elias 6-1 6-2 6-2 in just 85 minutes.
“You play tough players, and their bodies are in elite shape,” said Kyrgios. “It’s happened to me against [Andy] Murray a bunch of times. I feel like I’m stronger, and I’ve learned that you’ve got to save the energy. “I’m just trying to pick my times where I try and get myself up for it where I know there’s a little gap where I can sort of push and get in front. I thought today was a good example of me sort of trying to find that balance.”
The scoreboard matters
In one of those wonderful statistical tennis moments, Kristyna Pliskova defeated Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-3 2-6 6-4, having won one less point than her opponent.
The lefthander called for the doctor at the start of the third set, explaining after the match, “I was a bit exhausted. It’s pretty hot out there, so I needed to change something, I needed some time as well.”
She is still very close to her twin sister, world No.5 Karolina, who opens her Australian Open campaign on Tuesday against Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo. Will she be watching Karolina’s match? “No, it’s going to be even hotter than today. I will be in the shade somewhere.”
Eight Aussies in action
There were eight Australian players in action, including three teenagers. The five winners included Jaimee Fourlis (below) and Alex de Minaur, both 17. Destanee Aiava, the first player born this millennium to play in a major, was beaten by Mona Barthel.
Jack Duckworth and Sam Groth were beaten while Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic and Ashleigh Barty advanced to the second round.
Follow the Draw
Most players insist they don’t look beyond their first round match, but Daria Gavrilova admits to studying the draw before a tournament.
“I can’t remember the whole draw,” said Gavrilova, who plays Britain’s Naomi Broady on Tuesday, “but I know who is in my quarter.”
The ten-year wait is over
“I haven’t been in the second round here for ten years, I’ve waited long enough and I was very nervous throughout the whole match, but I am obviously very relieved and happy.” Those were the words of 29-year-old Mischa Zverev who defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets to claim his much-awaited place in the second round of the Australian Open.
The older brother of Alexander Zverev first played in Melbourne in 2007 when he made it to the second round, but hasn’t done so since, until today that is. Currently ranked 50 in the world the left-hander is hoping to match or beat his highest ranking of World No.45, achieved in 2009. On the basis of what we saw today, and with strength and conditioning guru, Jez Green in his support team, it looks like he is well on his way. John Isner is next up in the second round.
Enter here please
A record 72,424 people raced through the gates of Melbourne Park on Monday – a record for the combined Day/Night attendance on the first Monday of the Australian Open. Those returning to the tournament would have seen many new things, including the Tanderrum Bridge, which has re-oriented the main entry point to Melbourne Park from the river to the city,
Day One seeds dispatched
Simona Halep (4)
Roberta Vinci (15)
Kiki Bertens (19)
Daria Kasatkina (23) (below)
Laura Siegmund (26)
Lucas Pouille (16)
Pablo Cuevas (22)
Albert Ramos Vinolas (26)
Two out of three
Of the three Brits in action on Monday, Andy Murray and Dan Evans made their way through to the second round while Aljaz Bedene lost to Victor Estrella Burgos.
Winning today guarantees wildcard entrants Ashleigh Barty, Jaimee Fourlis, Alex De Minaur and qualifiers Mona Barthel, Julia Boserup, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Stefanie Voegele and Noah Rubin at least AUD $80,000 (£50,000).
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