There were no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported in the state of Victoria on Monday.
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.
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.
Briton Johanna Konta said she was in shock after an abdominal injury abruptly ended her Australian Open challenge in the first-round on Tuesday even though she was leading Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 6-4 0-2.
Konta, seeded 13th at Melbourne Park, left the court for a medical timeout to get treatment on her abdomen when serving at 5-4 in the opening set.
“I pulled my ab and that made it difficult for me to serve and that is why I had to retire,” Konta, 29, told reporters.
“I feel like I am in a bit of shock so I don’t fully know yet anything. I haven’t yet been able to check in with the physios.”
Konta, ranked 15th in the world, said she felt the injury for the first time during her second service game and then it started getting painful.
“I tried to just manage it the best I could but in the last service game of the first set, that is where I needed to intervene with the physios to try and offload it with tape and stuff like that,” added Konta.
Konta came back to serve out the set but continued to struggle and lost the first two games of the second set before deciding she was unable to continue.
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.
She barely broke sweat as she swept into the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The Australian won the first 16 points and lost only 10 of 60 over the 44-minute match as the hapless Kovinic sprayed 28 unforced errors – almost one every other point — to succumb to the dreaded “double bagel” scoreline.
“I wanted to go out there and almost take the sting, take the pepper out of the match a little bit and get it on my terms as much as possible right from the get-go and make it feel like she had a real mountain to climb,” Barty said.
“I think that was probably the most pleasing thing overall, right from the start I set the tone and was able to run away with it.”
Such one-sided contests will do nothing for ticket sales at a tournament struggling to get fans through the gates, but Barty will not care a jot as she seeks to become the first homegrown singles champion at the Grand Slam since 1978.
The 24-year-old played her first tournament in almost a year last week and walked away with the title but she knows there will much be tougher tests ahead if she is to land a second Grand Slam crown at the end of next week.
She was also the top seed at Melbourne Park last year after winning her first Grand Slam title at the 2019 French Open but fell to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in the semi-finals.
While she has had a long layoff, not having to quarantine for two weeks before the tournament like her rivals should be an advantage and her draw was kind.
Barty believes, however, that there are more threats than ever in the women’s game.
“I think more than anything is you’re seeing that the women’s game is getting so strong, the depth is incredible. You certainly can’t underestimate anyone,” Barty said.
“Every single opponent deserves to be here and has the right to press you as much as possible.”Next up for Barty is a second-round match against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo or local wildcard Daria Gavrilova.
“It will be a challenge if she gets through,” she said of compatriot Gavrilova.
“I always enjoy testing myself against other Aussies. If she does get through, it will be a ripper.”
1835 SHERIF MAKES HISTORY FOR EGYPT
Qualifier Mayar Sherif made history in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday when she 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.
The 24-year-old, who made her Grand Slam main draw debut at Roland Garros last year, toughed out a 7-5 7-5 win over fellow-qualifier Chloe Paquet on Court Six.
“Obviously it means a lot because finally this is barrier that I had to pass, a mental barrier,” Sherif told reporters.
“With the conditions that are here it was very, very tough to adapt to it, especially to adapt my game to it. It took us awhile. Courts are faster, the heat, everything happens so fast, very tough to control the ball.
“Very, very happy with my accomplishment and I’m going for more. That’s it.”
Sherif, who went to college in the United States and trains in Spain, said being a trailblazer for Egyptian sport had been a motivating factor in her career.
“I feel very supported from the Egyptian people, from my partners, my sponsors,” the world number 131 added.
“It’s been great, and honestly it’s just pushing me forward and forward because I feel that there are so many people behind me.”
Sherif, who qualified in Dubai before making her way to Melbourne for quarantine, said she was regularly recognised on the streets back home and hoped to inspire other Egyptians to believe they can succeed in tennis.
“I want them to believe in themselves and to see me and look at me and say that we can be like her,” she added.
“When someone tells me, ‘Oh, I wish one day to be like you’, I go, ‘No, you have to be better, you have to achieve something more, you have to go for more’.”
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.
Rafael Nadal on Tuesday started off his chase for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam in an emphatic manner, registering a straight-sets win against Serbia’s Laslo Djere in the opening round contest of the men’s singles event of the Australian Open.
The World No. 2 defeated Djere 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in one hour and 51 minutes to reach the second round where he will play one of two qualifiers — Michael Mmoh or Viktor Troicki.
“I’m happy to be through to the second round. I think I did a good job today,” Nadal said after the match as per the ATP Tour website. “Straight sets, that’s what I needed.”
Nadal did not compete in the ATP Cup due to injury.
“It’s been a tough 15 days for me, because I had some issues with the back. I needed to survive today, and that’s what I did,” the Spaniard said. “I just tried to be focussed all the time, tried to get through.”
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.
American teenager Coco Gauff said she felt right at home among her spectator contemporaries on the John Cain Arena court on Tuesday as she knocked out Jil Teichmann 6-3 6-2 to glide into the second round of the Australian Open.
The recently renamed showcourt at Melbourne Park is sometimes called the “People’s Court” as cheaper ticket prices make it accessible to a younger demographic, which can also make for a rowdier atmosphere.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, crowd numbers were again low on Tuesday but there were still enough youthful fans on hand to give the American a rousing cheer after a routine victory over her Swiss rival.
“I think this is my favourite court to play on,” Gauff, the youngest player in the main draw, said on court.
“I was told that this arena has a lot of younger people. I’m 16, so it’s good to see some people in the crowd that’s around my age, they tend to be a little bit louder so that’s why I like it.”
The teenager will next play Elina Svitolina, and the Ukrainian fifth seed will be well aware that Gauff stunned Venus Williams, Sorana Cirstea and Naomi Osaka in her first Australian Open campaign last year.
“I’m going to go out there and have fun and compete,” Gauff said.
“She’s a great player and I know it’s going to be a tough match, but I’m just going to embrace the opportunity and try to play well under the pressure.”
Crowds at Melbourne Park have been restricted to 30,000 each day this year because of biosecurity protocols, but that capacity looks unlikely to be reached over the first two days.
The three-week delay to the tournament also means that many younger fans who might have wanted to cheer on Gauff are now back at school after their January vacations.
“I know the stands aren’t as full because of the situation that is going on in the world but I’m happy that you guys came out to watch me play – so thanks!” Gauff added.
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.
Victoria Azarenka said she did not get her post-quarantine preparations right for the Australian Open after the former champion as knocked out in the first round of the Grand Slam by main draw debutant Jessica Pegula on Tuesday.
The Belarusian 12th seed, beaten 7-5 6-4, was one 72 players unable to leave their rooms to train for 14 days ahead of the tournament after passengers on their flights to Melbourne tested positive for COVID-19.
Azarenka, who won both her Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park in 2012 and 2013, said the isolation had taken a toll.
“Was that the best preparation for me? No,” she told a news conference. “The biggest impact for me personally has been not being able to have fresh air. That really took a toll.”
The 31-year-old said she had been unable to get her game in shape less than a week after being freed from lockdown.
“I don’t know how to prepare after two weeks in quarantine … I don’t have a blueprint how to prepare,” she added.
“It’s all about trying to figure it out and I didn’t figure it out. Not this time.”
Azarenka started the match on the front foot and was in complete control after racing to a 5-2 lead in the first set.
However, things quickly fell apart as American Pegula, the world number 61, took the next five games to seal the set.
Azarenka’s troubles continued in the second set and she took a medical timeout while trailing 4-2 after appearing to have trouble breathing.
The Belarusian did not reveal the reason for the medical timeout, making a plea for privacy in her post-match interview.
“I don’t really know why we’re getting asked about medical conditions,” she said. “All this is going out on the internet after for people to talk about, to judge about.
“I truly don’t ever understand why, when somebody is sick, injured or whatever, they have to give their medical reason out in the world. I think that should be changed, unless players do want to talk about it.”
After the timeout, Azarenka returned to the court to hold serve and followed that up with a break to draw level at 4-4, but Pegula broke straight back before serving out the match, sealing victory with an ace.
“I’m just disappointed, not being able to perform at my best,” Azarenka added. “Leaving Australian Open so soon is also disappointing, but it is what it is.”
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.
An anxious Sofia Kenin was in tears before launching her title defence at the Australian Open on Tuesday and again after completing an unconvincing 7-5 6-4 win over local wildcard Maddison Inglis.
Fourth seed Kenin, who claimed her maiden Grand Slam at Melbourne Park last year in a major surprise, found the going tough against the world number 133 Australian on a glorious morning at Rod Laver Arena.
The Russia-born American was broken twice in the first set and slumped to an early 3-1 deficit before recovering. She later double-faulted on match-point before closing it out.
Kenin has always worn her heart on her sleeve and was candid about her emotions, saying she needed to get a grip of them if she hoped to go far in her title defence.
“Yeah, emotions, some tears and stuff. I felt a little bit (of) pressure,” the 22-year-old said of her lead-in to the match.
“Obviously I was nervous … I obviously am tight. I wasn’t there 100% mentally.”
Kenin said that while she gets nervous before all of her matches, the anxiety level was cranked up in Melbourne as she bids to defend her title.
“I have to try to put my emotions aside for a match,” she added.
“I have to somehow get better at that if I want to do well here.”
Even after thumping down a backhand drive-volley to seal the win on a third match point, Kenin said she had to stop herself from weeping on court.
“Eyes were a little bit wet during the match,” she said.
“I try to cool off, put that aside … As the match went, luckily it was fine. Towards the end, you could see I got a little bit emotional as well.
“Standing at the net, ‘Okay, don’t cry’. My eyes were wet, obviously.”
She will next play Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, who beat her in three sets in Rome in 2018, their only career meeting.
Just seeing that Kanepi was winning her first round match against Anastasija Sevastova was enough to tug at Kenin’s emotions again.
“After my match, I came off court, and I looked that she was winning,” she said.
“Maybe (I) kind of broke down a little bit because obviously I remember I lost to her.”
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.
Shapovalov fumes after denied toilet break in Sinner match
Denis Shapovalov had to literally ‘hold on’ to beat Jannik Sinner in a thrilling Australian Open win over the Italian talent on Tuesday, having been left fuming after he was denied a request to take a bathroom break before the deciding fifth set.
“What happens if I go?” Canadian Shapovalov asked German umpire Nico Helwerth at Margaret Court Arena.
“Do I get a fine? I don’t care!
“What do you mean I can’t go? Are you going to disqualify me? I have to pee!
“I’m going to piss my pants! I’m going to piss in a bottle! You guys are not allowing players to piss? I don’t understand this rule!”
Players are allowed two bathroom breaks per five-set match at the tournament, with the breaks permitted only between sets.
Shapovalov, the 11th seed, later told reporters he was “blowing off steam”.
“Also I do think it’s a dumb rule, especially for me. I’ve got the smallest bladder ever. I’ve literally got to take a piss every set, so it’s difficult when you’re on the court for so long,” he said.
“Before the match I’m trying to hydrate as much as possible. … Of course it wasn’t the umpire’s fault.
“I think we should be able to take more breaks and go to the washroom because we … could be on the court for more than three-four hours.”
Shapovalov meets Australia’s Bernard Tomic for a place in the third round.
Australian Open order of play on Wednesday
Order of play on the main showcourts on the third day of the Australian Open on Wednesday (play begins at 0000 GMT, prefix number denotes seeding):
ROD LAVER ARENA
- 8-Bianca Andreescu (Canada) v Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan)
- Nina Stojanovic (Serbia) v 10-Serena Williams (U.S.)
- 1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v Frances Tiafoe (U.S.)
Not before 0800 GMT
- Caroline Garcia (France) v 3-Naomi Osaka (Japan)
- Maxime Cressy (U.S.) v 6-Alexander Zverev (Germany)
MARGARET COURT ARENA
- 7-Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) v Daria Kasatkina (Russia)
- Sorana Cirstea (Romania) v 9-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
- 3-Dominic Thiem (Austria) v Dominik Koepfer (Germany)
Not before 0800 GMT
- Alja Tomljanovic (Australia) v 2-Simona Halep (Romania)
- 18-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) v Alex Bolt (Australia)
JOHN CAIN ARENA
- 17-Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) v Marton Fucsovics (Hungary)
- Venus Williams (U.S.) v Sara Errani (Italy)
- 15-Iga Swiatek (Poland) v Camila Giorgi (Italy)
Not before 0800 GMT
- Nick Kyrgios (Australia) v 29-Ugo Humbert (France)