Djokovic, Osaka, Serena Favored on Wednesday
No. 1 ranked Ashleigh Barty gave up just 10 points on her way to a crushing 6-0, 6-0 victory over Danka Kovinic and cruise into the second round of the Australian Open.
Barty won the Yarra Valley Classic last week as a warmup for the Grand Slam, and looked to be in excellent form in her first match.
Azarenka Bounced from Australian Open
The 24-year-old Australian controlled the match from start to finish, solidifying her position as a co-favorite to win the tournament alongside Naomi Osaka.
“It felt great to be here,” Barty said after the win. “I tried to stick to my process and routine, but I just wanted to have fun.”
No. 4 seed Sofia Kenin faced more resistance from Maddison Inglis, but overcame some early difficulties to win 7-5, 6-4. The fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina similarly advanced over Marie Bouzkova by a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) margin.
Not all of the top women made it through to the second round, however. No. 12 Victoria Azarenka saw her run come to a quick end as Jessica Pegula scored a 7-5, 6-4 upset over the two-time Australian Open winner.
|Australian Open Odds – Selected Wednesday Matches (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|No. 9 Bianca Andreescu: -330||Hsieh Su-wei: +260|
|Nina Stojanovic: +1550||No. 10 Serena Williams: -3000|
|No. 1 Novak Djokovic: -5000||Frances Taifoe: +1600|
|Caroline Garcia: +670||No. 3 Naomi Osaka: -1050|
|Maxime Cressy: +1180||No. 6 Alexander Zverev: -1700|
Azarenka said she found it difficult to prepare for the tournament after going through a 14-day quarantine period beforehand.
“I think the biggest impact for me personally has been not being able to have fresh air. That really took a toll,” Azarenka said after the loss. “I don’t know how to prepare after two weeks’ quarantine to play in six days or five days. I don’t have a blueprint of how to prepare. So it’s all about, like, trying to figure it out. I did not figure it out, not this time.”
Nadal Eases Past Dere Despite Back Trouble
Four seeded men fell from the Australian Open bracket on Tuesday as well, including No. 12 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 13 David Goffin. But, the biggest names in the tournament breezed through the first round without much trouble at all.
Second seed Rafael Nadal started his Australian Open with a convincing 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 win over Laslo Dere. Nadal welcomed the quick win, as he is nursing a back injury.
“Straight sets, that’s what I needed,” Nadal said. “I need to go day-to-day and just try to stay positive. Of course, every day that I am trying to stay here longer is a day with a chance to get better finally.”
Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Matteo Berrettini all won their first-round matches in straight sets.
Wednesday marks the start of the second round at the Australian Open, with all of Monday’s winners back in action. Novak Djokovic should get a tougher test from American Frances Tiafoe, though the Serbian still comes in as a massive -5000 favorite.
Naomi Osaka (-1050) returns to the court to take on Carolina Garcia (+670), while Simona Halep (-950) battles Ajla Tomljanovic (+630). Men’s No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem (-3500) will also return to play, as he faces off against Dominik Koepfer (+1600).