Women's title up for grabs at Australian Open

Women's title up for grabs at Australian Open

But Halep never looked comfortable, forced to rush her shots as Aiava fended off three break points to take a commanding 5-2 lead. "I'm stronger physically. I have a different look to my game".

In 2016, she lost in the second round to qualifier Naomi Osaka.

In-form Svitolina last week won the Brisbane International after picking up five WTA Tour titles a year ago, more than any other woman.

She returned in April and, because of her slide down the rankings, needed some wild-card entries to enter tournaments.

The worry for Jo is the way she ended past year when she really struggled.

"The depth in women's tennis, I really do believe in the last few years, has gotten so strong", she added.

There were all kinds of comebacks on Tuesday.

No 2 Caroline Wozniacki, who hasn't won a major and last appeared in a Grand Slam final in 2014, is on the bottom half of the draw with Williams and has French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and last year's Australian semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe in her quarter. Konta beat Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1, the 10th loss in 11 first-round matches for American women.

The 19-time major champion has been met on court after previous wins by tennis greats Laver, John McEnroe and Jim Courier.

As usual, the 36-year-old Federer stayed classy. Nadal was one match away from meeting Cilic at last year's Wimbledon quarterfinals, but he lost in the fourth round to Gilles Muller. This time, he has four-time champion Andre Agassi in his corner. I think he would say "this is the start of the year and it's all about building blocks". "You're never flawless. There's always things you can work on".

Ninth seed Stan Wawrinka had a tough time of things against world number 136 Ricardas Berankis, eventually prevailing 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6 (2).

Stephens made a stellar run to the U.S. Open title after missing several months with an injured left foot.

Men's fourth seed Alexander Zverev enjoyed a straight-sets victory over Thomas Fabbiano 6-1 7-6 (5) 7-5, to make the second round of the Australian Open.

Simona Halep is facing an anxious wait after suffering an apparent ankle injury in her Australian Open first-round win over Destanee Aiava.

Maria Sharapova cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-4 win over Tatjana Maria of Germany on Margaret Court Arena.

Britain's world No. 9 Johanna Konta could figure despite a stuttering start to the season.

Aiava, who qualified for the tournament through a wildcard playoff last month, showed why Australia is so excited about her emerging talent in a 73-minute opening set featuring six breaks of serve. She will open against unseeded German Maria Tatjana tomorrow. "I'm just going to enjoy that, see where it takes me".

Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko did it previous year. "My coach and team always said, 'Only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way.' I can compete - but I don't want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time".



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