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.
Simona Halep goes down injured in Melbourne ??
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 16, 2018
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.
As cool as you like!
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2018
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.
Stefanos Tsitsipas impresses in Rotterdam to set up Karen Khachanov clash
Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas retained his hopes of a first ATP 500 title by beating Hubert Hurkacz.
Comment: Why Andy Murray needs to identify the positives in defeat against Andrey Rublev
A win against a top 10 player will kick-start Murray’s 2021.
Iga Swiatek keeps rising and has the potential to become a dominant figure on the WTA Tour
Oli Jefford on Iga Swiatek’s rise.
‘Tremendous player’ Kim Clijsters to resume her comeback as she accepts Miami and Charleston wildcards
Kim Clijsters set to feature in Miami and Charleston.
‘Motivated’ Garbine Muguruza shows fighting spirit as she beats defending Doha champion Aryna Sabalenka
Muguruza ends Sabalenka’s Doha title defence.
Andy Murray set to compete in Dubai and Miami events as he hints at playing full-clay court season
Andy Murray on his next few events.
Andy Murray shows real signs of promise despite defeat to Andrey Rublev
There were certainly encouraging signs for Andy Murray.
Angry Andy Murray loses to world number eight Andrey Rublev in Rotterdam
The three-time grand slam winner was beaten 7-5, 6-2.
ATP announces ‘Covid Protection Ranking’ amid ongoing restrictions
ATP announces new system and some tweaks to other systems.
WATCH: Turning his back on play, brilliant winners, racket smashing from Daniil Medvedev as he loses
Daniil Medvedev entertains, even when he loses.