The Australian Open first round came to a close on Tuesday with the second half of the singles draws being played, and many of the top seeds in action on Day Two advanced to the second-round of the year’s first major.
Defending champion and fourth-seeded American Sofia Kenin defeated Australian wild card Maddison Inglis 7-5, 6-4 to move on. It wasn’t the cleanest match from Kenin who committed more unforced errors than winners, but she came through in the end.
“I knew the crowd was going to be more or less behind her. I’m happy I had some crowd behind me. I was nervous. Obviously first match at a Slam is never easy,” said Kenin. “She’s playing the defending champion, so of course she’s more loose…I wasn’t there 100 percent mentally, but a win is a win and I’ll take it.”
Kenin will take on Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi who was a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Latvia’s Anastasia Sevastova.
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty wasted no time securing her spot in the next round as she steamrolled Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-0, 6-0 in less than 45 minutes. Barty never faced a break point and had just five unforced errors the entire match.
“This is what it’s all about, it’s incredible. To play in front of you guys is a real honor, a privilege, and we’re truly grateful to be here,” Barty, who plays compatriot Daria Gavrilova next, told the Rod Laver Arena crowd.
American Jessica Pegula upset 12th seed and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round in Melbourne for the first time in her career. Pegula fought back from 2-5 down in the opening set to rally and knock out Azarenka.
"I just kept fighting to kind of just hold serve. I knew she was serving really well. I knew I would get chances at the end of the first set, like I did. Maybe a little lucky here and there. I think I just tried to weather the storm,” she said. “I ended up settling in and ended up playing pretty well to close the first set out. I'm really proud that I stayed in there."
Other winners on the women’s draw on Tuesday included fifth-seed Elina Svitolina, sixth-seed Karolina Pliskova, 11th seed Belinda Bencic, 14th seed Garbine Muguruza and American Coco Gauff.
On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal put to bed any lingering questions about his back issue with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 win over Serbia’s Laslo Djere.
“I’m happy to be through to the second round. I think I did a good job today. Straight sets, that’s what I needed,” the second-seeded Spaniard said afterwards. “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. I just tried to be focused all the time, tried to get through.”
Nadal gets American qualifier Michael Mmoh next. Mmoh continued his winning ways Down Under with a marathon 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 win over Serbian qualifier Viktor Troicki.
Fourth-seed Daniil Medvedev, fifth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, seventh-seed Andrey Rublev, 22nd seed Borna Coric and American Tommy Paul.
Click Here to see the full results from Day Two at the 2021 Australian Open.