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  5. Australian Open 2024 Day 1: Djokovic, Rublev survive first round upsets; Sabalenka-Sinner through to 2nd round

Australian Open 2024 Day 1: Djokovic, Rublev survive first round upsets; Sabalenka-Sinner through to 2nd round

The world no.1 and defending champion survived a first-round exit against the 18-year-old Grand Slam debutant Dino Prizmic while no. 5 Andrey Rublev emerged victorious against Thiago Seyboth Wild in the five-set game thriller at Melbourne Park.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Published on: January 14, 2024 19:39 IST
Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka
Image Source : GETTY Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka at Australian Open 2024 on January 14

Australian Open 2024 witnessed no major upset in men's and women's singles round one fixtures on Day 1. Tournament favourites Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev had to fight in their opening games against unseeded opponents while the likes of Aryna Sabalenka and Jannik Sinner enjoyed a smooth ride to the next round.

The world no.5 Rublev faced unexpected resistance from the unseeded Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild in the first-round game. Russia clinched the first set by 7-5 and the second by 6-4 but the Brazilian showed great composure to register impressive comebacks by winning the next two sets by 6-3, 6-4. But Rublev survived a major upset by taking the fifth set home by 7-6 (10-6). 

In the men's singles most-awaited game on Day 1, chasing his 11th Australian Open title and record-breaking 25th Grand Slam, Djokovic was drawn against the 18-year-old Croatian Nico Prizmic in the first round who was making his debut in majors. Djokovic started with a dominating 6-2 win in the first set but the youngster made the Serbian pay for his money by clinching the second set by 7-6.

Djokovic kept his calm to win the next two sets and walked away with a win by 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, not a convincing start for the world no.1. 

In other big games, USA's top-ranked Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe struggled for dominance but survived an early exit with hard-fought wins against Facundo Diaz Acosta and Borna Coric respectively. The world no.4 Jannik Sinner witnessed no trouble reaching the second round with an easy 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 win against world no.59 Botic van de Zandschulp. 

In the women's singles event, the returning Caroline Wozniacki saw the world no.20 Magad Linette retiring due to injury. The world no.8 Maria Sakkari also reached the second round with an easy 6-4, 6-1 win against Japan's Nao Hibino. The world no.1 and the defending champion Aryna Sabalenka concluded Day 1 by thrashing unseeded German youngster Ella Seidel by 6-0, 6-1. 

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