By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • In the Day 1 at Australian Open, Coco Gauff defeated Venus Williams replicating her stunning win in her Wimbledon debut last summer
  • Marton Fucsovics and Sam Querrey completed the first upsets of the tournament beating No.13 seed Denis Shapovalov and No.25 seed Borna Coric
  • Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka completed easy first-round victories
MELBOURNE, Australia – Britwatchsports recaps all the relevant results in the first Day at 2020 Australian Open

 

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Notable wins

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After 21 consecutive appearances at the Australian Open, Roger Federer looked untroubled by everything Steve Johnson had to offer. The six-time champion completed a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory in a breathtaking display and remained unbeaten in first-round matches in Melbourne.

As reported by the Australian open website, Federer was satisfied with his straightforward performance.

“I haven’t played proper matches in many, many weeks, and probably 95 per cent of the guys are coming here with matches. I think for me really, the first three rounds are key to get going, to get used to the pressure, stay calm. [Today] I broke early each set and was able to get on a roll, play freely after that. And also felt I had margin. Anything I was doing, I felt like I had the game under control.”

Novak Djokovic clinched his 900th tour-level victory as he defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. The Serbian, who hasn’t lost a first-round match in a Grand Slam tournament since 2006 Australian Open, has the best win-loss ratio in tie-breaks in the last 52 weeks.

It gave him an undeniable edge as he sealed the first set while Struff began to doubt himself and over-hit more often than not. His game-plan, based on hard serve and powerful forehands worked properly only during the third set. The World No.37 broke quite soon and saved a break-back chance with an almost impossible volley winner. Struff won his first set in three matches against the 8-time Australian Open champion, but he immediately lost his serve to open the fourth set. Djokovic then cruised towards a remarkable win.

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams got off to a flying start in the WTA singles’ draw. The defending champion came back from 2-4 down in the second set to beat 6-2 6-4 Marie Bouzkova, aiming to be only the second player to oust reigning champion in the debut match.

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Osaka is attempting to become just the ninth woman to successfully defend their title at the Australian Open after Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Stefanie Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Serena Williams, and Victoria Azarenka. After the match, she thanked his father who watched her match from her box for the first time during a Grand Slam.

Serena started her bid for her 24th Grand Slam title beating 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova 6-0 6-3. Making her 19th appearance at Australian Open, where she is an Open Era record seven-time champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2015, 2017), Serena clinched the 350th win at Grand Slam level.

As reported by the NY Times, Serena felt a bit tense, although she has played and won more matches than any other woman in Australian Open history.

“Definitely, it was really tough for me trying to control my nerves, I’m really glad I was able to finish it in two”.

 

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Coco Gauff did it again. The 15-year-old prodigy replicated her Wimbledon 2019 first-round win and dismissed Venus Williams 7-6(5) 6-3. The teenager failed to convert three set points at 5-3 in the first set, and Venus managed to force a tie-break. Again, she rallied from 0-3 to 5-5 but Gauff sent her idol off-balance with her deep backhand and sealed the set. In the second, Gauff gained momentum building a 3-1 lead and never looked back.

Ashleigh Barty came back after an error-strewn first set to beat Lesia Tsurenko in her bid to become the first Australian to win the title in Melbourne since Chris O’Neil in 1978. Guaranteed to remain the World No.1 regardless of her result here, Barty recovered overcame Tsurenko 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. The Australian missed a  forehand long down set point taking her unforced error tally for the set to 19. From the second set, however, she made the necessary adjustments to transform the clash into a one-sided affair.

READ MORE | Australian Open 2020 | Latest Tennis Schedules & Draws

Notable losses

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Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, the No.13 seed, let his nerves get the better of him. He committed 62 unforced errors and struggled with his emotions throughout the three hour, 14 minute match, losing to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1 ,7-6(3).

The Doha quarter-finalist reached the second round in Melbourne for the second straight year and continues his bid to move to the round 16 and equal his best Grand Slam result, reached on his Australian Open debut in 2018. That year, he became the first Hungarian man to reach the round of 16 in a major since Balazs Taroczy at 1984 Roland Garros.

The Hungarian played a steady match, enticing Shapovalov to make crucial mistakes. He saved six of seven break points and won 18 more points in 0-to-4 shot rallies. in a battle between two former Wimbledon boys’ singles titlists, he forced Shapovalov to a more patient approach and it gave him significant openings. Fucsovics completed just the second Top 20 win in his last 13 matches after beating Nikoloz Basilashvili in Stuttgart last year. He has a 6-23 win-loss record against Top 20 opposition at Tour-level overall.

READ MORE | Australian Open 2020 | Where The Seeds May Fall

Shapovalov was furious against the chair umpire who handed him a code violation for racquet abuse, as reported by Sydney Morning Herald.

“I think it was a terrible call from the ref. The rule; what I know is, if I break my racquet you can code me but you can’t code me for slamming it … it didn’t impact anyone and the racquet was still intact. I think it’s horrible. I’m going to get fined for whatever the code was and he gets off the hook because he just makes a call because he feels like it. Nothing happened. OK, I threw my racquet. So what?”.

American Sam Querrey had a convincing 6-3 6-4 6-4 win against No. 25 seed Borna Coric of Croatia, who suffers his fifth first-round defeat in six appearances in Melbourne. Querrey hit 36 winners to 19 unforced errors, fired 18 aces and won 11 of 13 points at net to move to the second round against Ricardas Berankis.

READ MORE | Australian Open 2020 | Three to See on Day 2

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Quick hits

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No.8 seed Matteo Berrettini eased past Australian wild card Andrew Harris 6-3 6-1 6-3. Harris, a college tennis star, was making his Tour-level debut, aiming to emulate his mother, Anne Minter, a former Top 30 who reached the quarterfinals here in 1988.

Last year’s finalist Petra Kvitova dropped just one game in one of her best Grand Slam first-round matches ever. She fired 16 winners en route to a solid 6-1 6-0 win over fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova.

Contesting the final tournament of her career, having announced during the off-season that she will retire following her run in Melbourne, Caroline Wozniacki started her campaign with an emphatic 6-1, 6-3 victory over World No.92 Kristie Ahn. One of five former champions in the starting field, the Dane needed 85 minutes to clinch her 35th Australian Open win and complete a match closer than the score could suggest.

Due to the inclement weather, play on Day 2 will start on some courts at 10:30 (11:30 GMT).

 

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