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.
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