Halep, Pliskova, Konta, Kerber into second round

Top seed Simona Halep was made work hard for her first-round win at the Australian Open, but Karolina Pliskova, Johanna Konta and Angelique Kerber had an easier time.

World No 1 Halep found herself 5-2 down against 17-year-old Destanee Aiava in the opening set and then rolled her ankle in the set, but she recovered to secure a 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 victory.

Australian wildcard Aiava produced a powerful display and dominated early on, but she then required a medical timeout after complaining that she had difficulty breathing.

She had two set points, but Halep fought back and eventually forced a tiebreaker, which she won to claim the opening set in one hour and 13 minutes.

The Romanian then built a 2-0 lead in the second before rolling her ankle and she also required a medical timeout. However, she had no problems seeing out the second set to move safely into the second round.

Sixth seed Pliskova saw off the challenge of Veronica Cepede Royg on Rod Laver Arena, beating the Paraguayan 6-3, 6-4.

The Czech player broke three times in the opening set and then raced into a 5-2 lead before finishing things off.

Great Britain’s No 1 Konta had no problems beating American Madison Brengle as she secured a 6-3, 6-1 victory.

A semi-finalist in 2016, Konta was too strong for world No 90 Brengle as she hit 37 winners in a match that lasted only one hour and six minutes.

The 26-year-old will take on another American in Bernarda Pera in the second round.

Fresh from winning the Sydney International last week, Kerber made it 10 wins in a row as she beat fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0, 6-4.

The former world No 1 raced through the opening set in only 18 minutes, but Friedsam put up a bit of a fight in the second set as she fought back from 4-1 down to level things at 4-4.

However, Kerber eventually wrapped the match up in one hour and eight minutes. Next up for the 2016 Australian Open campion is Croatia’s Donna Vekic.