MELBOURNE, Australia â€” The Latest from the Australian Open on Monday (all times local):
Eugenie Bouchard was late starting her first-round match, so didn’t waste any time in beating American Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4 in 56 minutes.
The pair didn’t begin play until nearly 11 p.m. on Margaret Court Arena after Stan Wawrinka needed nearly 3 1-2 hours to beat Martin Klizan in five sets in the preceding match.
Bouchard made the semifinals at Melbourne Park in 2014, and followed that up with a semi appearance at the French and the final at Wimbledon. But injuries and poor form have since seen her ranking drop out of the top 20.
On Monday, Bouchard won the opening set in 18 minutes and broke Chirico in the third game of the second set before serving to win, clinching the match when Chirico sent a forehand long.
Roger Federer’s first tour-level match in more than six months was a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over an often pesky Jurgen Melzer on Rod Laver Arena.
The opening two sets were contrasting ones. Federer was down 4-2 but won four of the five next games and the final eight points of the set to clinch the opener.
In the second, Federer led 2-0 before Melzer came back to win seven of the next nine games and the set.
Federer finally started to pull away and dominate the third and fourth sets, breaking Melzer’s serve to clinch the match.
Federer has won the Australian Open four times among his record 17 Grand Slam titles, but hasn’t won in Melbourne since 2010. His layoff was due to a left knee injury.
U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka has scraped into the second round of the Australian Open after beating 35th-ranked Martin Klizan of Slovakia 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
In the ninth game of the fifth set, fourth-seeded Wawrinka smashed a soft half-volley from Klizan straight back into the Slovakian’s body, clipping the frame and just missing his midsection.
Wawrinka was concerned enough about his opponent that he jumped over the net to make sure Klizan was OK, but the match continued without much delay.
Warwinka held serve in that game to lead 5-4, then broke Klizan in the next game to clinch the match in 3 hours, 24 minutes.
There were 32 break-point chances in the match, with Wawrinka converting six chances to Klizan’s five.
Angelique Kerber is two-for-two at the Australian Open: winner in her first Grand Slam match as No. 1, and as a defending champion.
Kerber defeated Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to open night play at Rod Laver Arena.
Last year, Kerber began a breakout year with an upset win over Serena Williams in the Australian Open final.
Kerber lost the Wimbledon final to Williams but went on to win the U.S. Open for her second career major and cap a season that saw her overwhelmingly named WTA Player of the Year.
Kerber served for the match Monday in the second set but let Tsurenko take it on her fifth set point before the German player dominated the decider.
In front of a sparse crowd on Court 20, far from the main show courts reserved for other Grand Slam champions, Francesca Schiavone played her final match at the Australian Open.
Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, announced before the tournament that she’d be retiring this year. The Italian veteran displayed the same fiery intensity that defined her career on Monday, but she was unable to get past American Julia Boserup, losing 6-2, 6-4.
“When you win it’s a little bit different,” she said. “This tournament gave me a lot in the last 15 years. I leave (with) the fantastic moments.”
A clay-court specialist, Schiavone didn’t have particular success at the Australian Open, reaching the quarterfinals just once and losing in the first round the last four years.
Her real farewell will come four months later in Paris, the scene of the biggest victory of her career.
“To arrive there, would be fantastic for me to smell again the clay,” she said.
Given her history there, she might get a slightly better court assignment, too.
Andy Murray has reiterated that changes are needed in the Davis Cup team competition if more top players are to take part.
After a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over Illya Marchenko, Murray said “everyone seems to be in agreement that the format needs to change.”
Murray said none of the players at a recent meeting wanted a neutral venue for Davis Cup, as has been mooted by the International Tennis Federation.
“There were many things discussed that could change Davis Cup, we thought for the better,” he said. “A lot of players agreed upon. None of that’s been done yet.”
As for a neutral venue for the final, he said, “I don’t know many people that think that’s a good idea.”
Murray also said the players discussed making the team format a Saturday-Sunday competiton, instead of Friday-Saturday-Sunday, and that matches should be best-of-three instead of best-of-five.
“We’ll see what happens in the next 18 months or so, see if there’s anything we can do to make it better,” Murray said.
It wasn’t always easy, but Andy Murray has claimed his first win as a top-seeded player in a Grand Slam tournament with a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over Illya Marchenko of Ukraine.
Murray, who took over the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic late last year, has never won the Australian Open despite being a five-time finalist here, including the last two years.
Marchenko had 46 winners in the match compared to Murray’s 25, but Murray helped his cause by breaking the Ukrainian player’s service in six of eight opportunities. And Marchenko made 62 unforced errors, compared with Murray’s 27.
Venus Williams said her younger sister, Serena, is showing the way again.
Serena was the first in the family to win a Grand Slam title at the 1999 U.S. Open, and she’s set to be the first of the tennis-playing siblings to get married, too.
“She’s a wise woman. She’s actually getting a real life,” Venus said after her first-round win over Kateryna Kozlova at the Australian Open. “Maybe I’ll grow up.”
Serena announced in late December that she was engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The bride-to-be has demurred when asked for details in Melbourne, saying she’s been too focused on the start of the season to “let everything sink in.”
Venus and Serena have long shared a home base together in Florida. Asked how she’d feel if Serena moved, Venus said it was up to her sister and new husband â€” she wouldn’t put any extra pressure on them.
“They have to figure out this life together,” she said. “I just kind of go with the flow. I can always get on a plane if she moves somewhere else.”
CoCo Vandeweghe overcame the heat and illness to beat 15th-seeded Roberta Vinci 6-1, 7-6 (3) and advance to the second round of the Australian Open. Vandeweghe was down a break in the second set when she slumped to her knees, facing the backboard at Margaret Court Arena, and needed help from medical staff.
The trainer rubbed some water on Vandeweghe’s neck as she stayed in the shade for a couple of minutes, not moving, before the tournament doctor went out to help.
After the match, Vandeweghe fell on her back and appeared to be crying. The doctor came out again to attend to her.
“Shoot. I don’t know what was happening,” Vandeweghe said in her on-court interview. “It wasn’t the heat or anything. I just started feeling nauseous. I can’t thank you guys (the crowd) enough for pushing me through that.”
Venus Williams overcame 48 unforced errors to beat Kateryna Kozlova for the second consecutive time in the opening round of a major. The 13th-seeded Williams needed three sets to beat Kozlova at last year’s U.S. Open â€” and she didn’t have a much easier time on Monday at Melbourne Park.
The seven-time major winner rallied twice from a break down in the opening set before prevailing 7-6 (5), 7-5 in just under two hours.
Williams lost in the first round of the Australian Open last year to eventual semifinalist Johanna Konta. She’s making her 73rd appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam â€” a record in the Open era.
Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori got off to a sluggish start, had a big letdown during a fourth-set tiebreaker but saved his best for last for a five-set victory Monday over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia at the Australian Open on Monday. Nishikori, who has advanced to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park the past two years, beat Kuznetsov 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-2 in 3 1/2 hours.
Nishikori led 5-2 in the tiebreaker before Kuznetsov rallied to take four consecutive points, then clinched the fourth on his second set point.
In the fifth set, Nishikori broke Kuznetsov’s serve in the fourth and in the last games.
The first player born in the 2000s to play a match at a Grand Slam tournament will have just one.
Destanee Aiava established the first milestone at the 2017 Australian Open, becoming the first player born in this millennium to play a main draw match at a Grand Slam event.
The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student got a wild-card entry to the season’s first major. But she lost to German qualifier Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the opening match on Show Court 2.
French Open champion Garbine Muguruza has beaten New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic in the first round at Melbourne Park for the second time in three years.
Muguruza fought off three break points at 1-4 in the second set and cruised from there, winning the final five games of the match for a 7-5, 6-4 victory.
The seventh seed from Spain took an injury time-out after the first set, but didn’t appear hampered when she returned from the court.
Muguruza hasn’t been past the fourth round of the Australian Open in four appearances.
Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig didn’t waste any time on the opening day of the Australian Open.
The Puerto Rican player, seeded 29th, was the first player to win a match at Melbourne Park this year, defeating Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig 6-0, 6-1 in 53 minutes.
Puig was close to shutting Tig out completely, known in tennis as a “double bagel,” but made several unforced errors to give the Romanian her first game at 6-0, 5-1. The match was over several minutes later.
Puig stunned the field at last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics to become Puerto Rico’s first-ever gold-medal winner, beating Angelique Kerber in the final.
Simona Halep is the first seeded women’s player to lose at the Australian Open â€” in the first match on Rod Laver Arena.
American Shelby Rogers defeated the Romanian player 6-3, 6-1, saving the only break point she faced from Halep and breaking her opponent four times.
Rogers will next play the winner of the match between Australian wild-card entry Ash Barty and Annika Beck of Germany in the second round.
France’s Jeremy Chardy has the distinction of winning the first men’s match at this year’s Australian Open, although it was helped by an injury to Nicolas Almagro’s right leg.
Chardy was leading the Spanish player 4-0 in the first set of their match on Court 12 at Melbourne Park when Almagro could not continue due to a calf strain that he first picked up at a tournament in Doha 10 days ago.
Chardy advances to the second round while Almagro walks away with $37,500 as a first-round loser.
“I’ll take it, an easy match never hurts at a long tournament like this,” Chardy said.
Destanee Aiava only had to hit a ball Monday to establish the first milestone at the 2017 Australian Open, becoming the first player born in this millennium to play a main draw match at a Grand Slam event.
The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student got a wild-card entry to the season’s first major. She was playing German qualifier Mona Barthel in the opening match on Show Court 2. Her match started at 11:13 a.m. local time, with Barthel on serve.
Play on the Rod Laver Arena got started with No 4-seeded Simona Halep against Shelby Rogers.
Let the tennis begin.
The opening Grand Slam tournament of the year gets under way Monday at Melbourne Park, with top-seeded Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber set to play their first-round matches at the Australian Open.
The sun was shining with temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) when the gates opened an hour before the scheduled start of play. The forecast high was for 31 C (88 F) rising to 37 C (99 F) on Tuesday.
First up on the main Rod Laver Arena court was Romania’s Simona Halep playing Shelby Rogers of the United States. Murray was scheduled to play the last day match on Rod Laver, and Kerber, who beat Serena Williams in last year’s final, was to open night play.
The Associated Press