The Latest: Zverev’s win wraps up Day 1 on Rod Laver Arena
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Monday from the Australian Open at Melbourne Park (all times local):
Olympic champion Alexander Zverev wrapped up the Day 1 program on Rod Laver Arena with a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (1) win over Daniel Altmaier.
The third-ranked Zverev recovered a service break in the third set and hit a clean backhand cross-court winner to get triple match point in the 12th game. Altmaier saved all three of those and one more to hold and force a tiebreaker. Zverev dominated the tiebreaker and converted on his next match point.
He will next play John Millman, an Australian who had a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 win over 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez on Margaret Court Arena. For Lopez, it was a quick exit from his 20th Australian Open, and 79th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.
Top-ranked Ash Barty didn’t waste much time in advancing to the second round of her home Open.
Barty beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-1 in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena. Barty won the first 11 games but eventually needed five match points before advancing in 54 minutes.
Barty is trying to become the first Australian woman since Chris O’Neill in 1978 to win the Australian Open. Two-time major champion Barty will possibly meet defending champion Naomi Osaka, who advanced earlier Monday in straight sets, in the fourth round.
In another match, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin lost 7-6 (2), 7-5 to fellow American Madison Keys.
Wang Qiang has her first win over a top 20 player since beating Serena Williams at Melbourne Park in 2020 after upsetting 18th-seeded Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-2.
It was Wang’s first win on tour since last year’s French Open, where she beat Hsieh Su-wei in the first round before losing to Gauff in the second.
Gauff saved four match points from 5-0 down on Monday but that was the only good news in a match where the American made 38 unforced errors.
“You know I lost two times against her last year so I just tried my best to focus on court,” Wang said.
French Open champion and fourth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova advanced with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Andrea Petkovic. Krejcikova lost to Paula Badosa in three sets at the Sydney WTA tune-up tournament final on Saturday.
Rafael Nadal has renewed his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam singles title with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over American Marcos Giron.
Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are tied with 20 major singles titles each. Federer is not playing due to his lengthy recovery from right knee surgery, and nine-time champion Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday due to problems with his visa, his COVID-19 vaccination status, and a court hearing which didn’t go his way.
Nadal is also bidding to become the second man in the Open Era — and only the fourth man — to win each of the four Grand Slam singles titles twice. Djokovic completed the double by winning his second title at Roland Garros in 2021. Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only other men to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.
A back injury has forced ninth-seeded Ons Jabeur to withdraw from the Australian Open before her scheduled first-round singles match. The injury forced the Tunisian, who reached the third round at Melbourne Park last year, to retire from her quarterfinal at a Sydney lead-up event last week.
“I tried everything to be ready and I thought I could have recovered in time to play here,” Jabeur said. “Unfortunately, the pain is still very present and playing in such conditions could jeopardize my whole season.”
She was replaced in the main draw by Romania’s Irina Bara, a lucky loser from the qualifying tournament.
China’s Zheng Saisai was another late withdrawal on the Open’s first day. She was replaced by Nao Hibino of Japan.
Defending champion Naomi Osaka has had a relatively trouble-free 6-3, 6-3 win over Camila Osorio in her first-round match on Rod Laver Arena. The four-time Grand Slam singles champion won the first five games of the match before Osorio hit back.
Osaka advances to the second round against either Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle.
Former No. 1 Osaka slid down the rankings last year after taking time out following her withdrawal at the French Open. She is 13th at the Australian Open, where she won last year and in 2019.
Osorio is ranked 50th in the world and was making her main draw debut at Melbourne Park. Next up on the same court is Rafael Nadal’s match against American Marcos Giron.
Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari beat Tatjana Maria 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the first match completed on the main show court in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
She said the experience was “weird . . . in a good way.”
“I was a little bit stressed, opening the tournament on this wonderful court,” she said. “It’s a privilege to have my first match here.”
Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3, and 15th-seeded Elina Svitolina had a 6-1, 7-6 (4) win over Fiona Ferro in other early results.
Women’s defending champion Naomi Osaka was scheduled to play the second match on Rod Laver Arena, followed by Rafael Nadal.
Showing evidence of vaccination has been a requirement for all those entering Melbourne Park on Day 1 of the Australian Open, the morning after nine-time champion Novak Djokovic was deported for not meeting the country’s strict COVID-19 vaccination rules.
A security official with a loud speaker reminded people queuing outside the complex that hosts the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year to have their proof of vaccination ready for inspection and added, “oh, a ticket would be handy, too!”
The Australian Open begins under mostly cloudy skies with a threat of rain showers.
Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari is playing Tatjana Maria in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena. Women’s defending champion Naomi Osaka was scheduled to play the second match on the tournament’s main court, followed by Rafael Nadal. Women’s top seed Ash Barty had a night match.
Nadal is seeking a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title. He is tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer on 20. Djokovic was a late withdrawal because he’s not vaccinated and failed to have his visa cancellation overturned in a Federal Court hearing on Sunday. Federer is still recovering from a knee injury.
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