The Latest: Defending champion Federer wins in 1st round
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Tuesday at the Australian Open (all times local):
Defending champion Roger Federer had an easy run in his first-round match at the Australian Open, beating Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 as he began his quest here for his 20th Grand Slam singles title.
Some of the best entertainment came after the match ended when John McEnroe and then actor and comedian Will Ferrell conducted the post-match TV interviews with the five-time Australian champion on Rod Laver Arena.
Wimbledon champion and third-seeded Garbine Muguruza started her quest for the No. 1 ranking with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Jessika Ponchet, a player ranked 253 spots below her.
Muguruza, who lost in the quarterfinals to CoCo Vandeweghe at Melbourne Park last year, can overtake Simona Halep for the No. 1 ranking if she wins the women’s final on Jan. 28.
The Spanish player has already been No. 1 — in September of last year — and finished the year ranked second before being supplanted by Caroline Wozniacki last week.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has been beaten in the first round of the Australian Open, losing 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic.
Kvitova double-faulted on match point, two points after hitting a half-court volley into the net. She had earlier saved three match points in the 10th game of the final set.
Last year during the Australian Open, Kvitova was recovering from surgery to her left hand as a result of a knife attack from an assailant who broke into her home in the Czech Republic in late December, 2016.
Kvitova, the 27th-seed player this year, was a semifinalist in Australia in 2012 and also made the quarterfinals in 2011.
Top-seeded Simona Halep overcame an injured left ankle to beat Australian wildcard entry Destanee Aiava 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the first round of the Australian Open.
Halep, who recovered from a 5-2 deficit in the first set, was moving across the baseline in the third game of the second set when her left foot caught on the court surface and she twisted her ankle, tumbling to the ground.
After an injury timeout to have her foot heavily taped, Halep returned to the court and had little trouble finishing off the 17-year-old Australian.
Aiava had the distinction of becoming the first player born in this century to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament when she competed here last year.
Stan Wawrinka struggled at times in his first match since last year’s Wimbledon, but held on to beat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Australian Open.
The 2014 champion only connected on 50 percent of his first serves and was broken four times in the match. He also looked physically spent toward the end of the fourth set before rallying to dominate the tiebreaker and close out the match.
Wawrinka underwent surgery on his left knee after Wimbledon and didn’t play another match in 2017. He delayed his comeback at the start of this season by pulling out of a couple exhibitions before the Australian Open and made a last-minute decision to take part in the tournament.
“I’m proud to be back already,” he said after his match. “Honestly, to win today, it means a lot for me.”
The ninth-seeded Swiss player is also playing without a coach after splitting with long-time coach Magnus Norman in October.
Six-time champion Novak Djokovic has advanced to the second round of the Australian Open for the 12th consecutive year, beating American Donald Young 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Young didn’t go out without a fight, however, saving four match points on his serve in the ninth game of the final set before Djokovic served out the match in the next game.
The 14th-seeded Djokovic was playing his first official tournament match since a six-month layoff after a right elbow injury kept him off the circuit since Wimbledon, where he lost in the quarterfinals.
He appeared to not be affected by any elbow issues during the Margaret Court Arena match.
U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys has moved into the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-1, 7-5 win over China’s Wang Qiang.
Keys, a former semifinalist at Melbourne Park, rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the second set by winning six of the next seven games to close out the match. She hit her fourth ace on match point.
The 17th-seeded American missed last year’s Australian Open after undergoing surgery on her left wrist. After losing the U.S. Open final to fellow American Sloane Stephens in September, Keys played just one more match before ending her season to let her wrist fully heal.
Keys picked up the second win for the U.S. women on Tuesday, following lucky loser Bernarda Pera’s victory earlier in the day. The American women went 1 for 9 in first-round matches on Monday.
Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev has advanced to the second round at Melbourne Park with a 6-1, 7-6 (5), 7-5 win over Thomas Fabbiano.
The 20-year-old Zverev, coming off five tournament wins last year, broke Fabbiano’s serve at love in the last game to clinch the match.
Zverev is looking to improve on his best Grand Slam result at Wimbledon last year when, as the No. 10 seed, he reached the fourth round before losing to Milos Raonic in five sets.
Zverev also lost in the third round here last year to eventual runner-up Rafael Nadal.
Milos Raonic has slumped to his earliest exit at a Grand Slam since 2011, losing in the first round at the Australian Open to Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
The Canadian is coming off an injury-filled season that saw his ranking drop to No. 24 from a career-high of No. 3 in 2016.
Raonic missed last year’s U.S. Open after undergoing wrist surgery. He returned to the tour for one tournament in Japan in October, but retired from his quarterfinal match. He has been among the most vocal proponents for shortening the nearly year-long tennis schedule to protect top players from injury.
Raonic is a former Wimbledon finalist and has reached at least the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park the last three years.
Maria Sharapova marked her return to the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Germany’s Tatjana Maria in the first round.
The Russian was suspended from the tour for 15 months after testing positive for the drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. She made her return to the tour last April, but didn’t contest her first Grand Slam tournament until the U.S. Open, where she reached the fourth round.
Sharapova, now ranked 48th, is one of two former Australian Open champions in the women’s field, alongside Angelique Kerber. Sharapova won the tournament in 2008 and has reached the final on three other occasions.
“I’ve got shivers,” Sharapova said of playing again at Melbourne Park. “It means a lot to me. I cherish these moments.”
Sharapova could next play 14th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, who beat the Russian at last year’s U.S. Open.
After going 1 for 9 in first-round matches on the opening day of the Australian Open, the American women picked up a second victory early on Day 2.
Lucky loser Bernarda Pera, a Croatian-born American who lives in New Jersey, beat Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-2, 6-2 for her first win at a Grand Slam.
Pera lost in the final round of qualifying and only got into the tournament on Monday when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew with a shoulder injury.
The 23-year-old Pera on her biggest paycheck at a Challenger-level title last July in the Czech Republic and later that night was hospitalized after having a bad reaction to the pasta dish she ate for dinner. Pera is allergic to chicken, seafood and turkey, among other foods.
“I couldn’t feel my legs, I couldn’t feel my hands. I couldn’t move,” she said. “It was really bad.”
Pera carries an EpiPen emergency allergy injector with her at all times, just to be safe.
She next plays ninth-seeded Johanna Konta of Britain, a winner over another American on Tuesday, Madison Brengle.
Pera has only seen Konta play on television, so she’s a little unsure what to expect.
“I have to watch some YouTube videos,” she said.
Former champion Angelique Kerber has won her 10th match in a row to start the season, beating fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0, 6-4 in the first round at Melbourne Park.
Kerber, who won the 2016 Australian Open, won four singles matches at the Hopman Cup, then followed that up with five wins en route to the Sydney International title last week.
She needed four break points in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, then held service in the next game after Friedsam had saved one match point.
Kerber will celebrate her 30th birthday on Thursday with a second-round match against either Nao Habino or Donna Vekic.
Former No. 1-ranked Karolina Pliskova has advanced to the second round at the Australian Open, beating Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3, 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena.
Pliskova, who held the top ranking in July of last year, is among six players who could return to No. 1 depending on results at the season-opening major.
She played the Brisbane International two weeks ago with her new coach, Thomas Krupa. The defending champion lost to eventual winner Elina Svitolina in the semifinals.
Johanna Konta has continued her strong recent form at Melbourne Park, easily winning her first-round match and eliminating another American player.
Konta beat Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1, the 10th loss in 11 first-round matches for American women. On Monday, the nine U.S. women eliminated included 2017 finalist Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
The Australian-born Konta, who won on her fourth match point Tuesday, has had two good years at the Australian Open, losing to the eventual champion each time. She was defeated by Angelique Kerber in the semifinals in 2016 and lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals last year.
Defending champion Roger Federer continues his quest for a 20th Grand Slam singles title and top-seeded Simona Halep starts another bid for her first when both see action on Day Two at the Australian Open.
Fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova begins play on Rod Laver Arena in a match Tuesday against Veronica Cepede Royg, with Halep following two matches later against Destanee Aiava.
Federer is set to open the night program at Rod Laver in a match against Aljaz Bedene.
Also set to play their first-round matches are six-time champion Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, who is playing at Melbourne Park for the first time since testing positive for the banned drug meldonium here, and the Canadian pair of Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard.
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