So this is how the Barty begins Down Under.
Top-ranked Ash Barty lost the first set of her first-round match at the Australian Open, where she's aiming to be the first homegrown winner in more than 40 years, before recovering to beat Leisa Tsurenko 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
The slightly leaky roof was closed on Rod Laver Arena as heavy rain lashed Melbourne on Monday, and the parochial home crowd was slightly subdued after Barty lost a first set containing a combined five breaks of serve. No worries, mate. The French Open champion “fixed a few things" in her approach, and Tsurenko won only two more games in the next 52 minutes.
Zhang Shuai has beaten Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open for the second time in three years.
The No. 35-ranked Zhang had a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. win over 24th-seeded Stephens in a night match on Margaret Court Arena that finished less than 40 minutes before her 31st birthday. The crowd got in early, singing her the Happy Birthday song.
How nice I can play in front of you ,really appreciate such great crowd— Shuai Zhang (@zhangshuai121) January 20, 2020
love you guys ... https://t.co/sGEHDmPSrC
Coco Gauff has beaten Venus Williams in the first round for the second time in three Grand Slam tournaments.
The 15-year-old Gauff followed up her upset over Williams at Wimbledon last year with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over the 39-year-old, seven-time major winner at the Australian Open.
While play was suspended on all outside courts because of heavy rain over Melbourne, Gauff went to work under the roof on Margaret Court Arena. She served an ace to set up triple match point and converted with a drop shot, which Williams couldn't retrieve in time.
Gauff was playing her first match in the main draw at Melbourne Park. Williams was in the main draw of a major for an Open Era-record 85th time.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2020
Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki beat Kristie Ahn 6-1, 6-3 in the first round of the Australian Open, the last tournament of her professional career.
Wozniacki has announced she will retire after the Australian Open, where she won her first major title in 2018. There were several rain delays in the mid-afternoon, prompting organizers to close the roof on each of the three man show courts. Play was suspended on outside courts when heavy rain fell shortly after the first delay.
Serena Williams won the first set in 19 minutes and had a momentary lapse at the start of the second but completed a 6-0, 6-3 win over Anastasia Potapova. The eighth-seeded Williams is attempting to win her record 24th Grand Slam singles title. Williams had her service broken in the second game of the second set after cruising through the first. But she broke Potapova's serve two games later, her fifth successful break in six attempts.
Williams won last week's Auckland tournament.
“I hadn't been able to win as a mom, so it was nice to finally be able to win a tournament with a 2-year-old now," Williams said. “”I've been pretty close but it was special for me and for her. I hope for her."
Defending champion Naomi Osaka has won the opening match in Rod Laver Arena, reeling off the last four games after dropping serve for the only time to beat Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 6-4.
Osaka is aiming to be only the ninth woman to successfully defend the Australian Open title. She wasn't able to do that at the U.S. Open last year, when she lost in the fourth round a year after winning her first major title in New York, but says she learned some valuable lessons there. “Definitely, it was really tough for me trying to control my nerves. I’m really glad I was able to finish it in two," Osaka said.
She was given the first match on the main court at Melbourne Park on a day when former champions Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will also feature on Rod Laver.
“Thanks everyone. You probably didn’t come for me, but thanks for filling up the stadium,” she said.
Osaka hit 29 winners and 28 unforced errors, pushing No. 59-ranked Bouzkova around with some heavy ground strokes.
Other seeded players advancing included No. 13 Petra Martic and No. 14 Sofia Kenin.
Martic had a 6-3, 6-0 win over Christina McHale and Kenin beat Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-4.