Iga Swiatek survives early test in Australian Open 2024

Iga Swiatek survives early test in Australian Open 2024

/ 04:57 PM January 16, 2024

Iga Swiatek  Australian Open 2024 Sofia Kenin

Iga Swiatek of Poland waves to the crowd after defeating Sofia Kenin of the U.S. in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Top-ranked Iga Swiatek survived an early test of her Australian Open 2024 title hopes when she beat former champion Sofia Kenin 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the first round on Tuesday.

Kenin, the winner in 2020, served for the first set at 5-4 but could not close it out and Swiatek took it in the tiebreaker. The No. 1 seed then broke Kenin in the fifth game of the second set and held on to clinch victory.

“Really happy,” said Swiatek, who hit 30 winners. “It wasn’t easy to find my rhythm. I felt a little bit off and Sofia did everything to keep it that way, huge respect to her. I managed to get my level up in the second set.”


READ: Five women to watch at Australian Open 2024

The Polish player is trying to win her fifth Grand Slam title but her first in Melbourne.

She’ll face another tough second-round match against 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins, who beat 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

“A tough little bracket that we have!” Collins said of the first two rounds. “I was like, ’wow, I get really great draws now. But if you’re trying to win a Grand Slam, you kind of have to beat everyone.”

Kerber was one of three past Australian champions making their returns to Melbourne Park for the first time as mothers. She joined four-time major winner Naomi Osaka as a first-round exit. Caroline Wozniacki, the 2018 winner, has reached the second round.

Victoria Azarenka  Australian Open 2024

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus waves after defeating Camila Giorgi of Italy in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Victoria Azarenka, the winner in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013, won a hard-hitting contest with Camila Giorgi of Italy, advancing 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. No. 11-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, the former French Open champion, beat Kimberley Birrell 7-6 (5), 6-1.

“Right into the tournament, right, playing against Camila, we know how dangerous she can be,” 18th-seeded Azarenka said. “I feel like I didn’t play my best tennis today but I am happy I was able to find my way around.”


Earlier, Sloane Stephens picked up her first win at the Australian Open since 2019 when she beat wild-card entry Olivia Gadecki 6-3, 6-1. The 30-year-old American, who won the U.S. Open in 2017, won five straight games from 2-0 down in the opening set and eased through the second to clinch victory in just under an hour.

“Pleased with the way I played,” said Stephens, who reached the semifinals of the event in 2013 but who has lost in the first round in seven of her past eight visits to Melbourne. “I’ve been working a lot on making the opponents play. I think that’s something I had got away from. Pleased with the win.”

In men’s results, 11th-seeded Casper Ruud beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 and Cameron Norrie defeated Juan Pablo Varillas 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 13 seed, beat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-2.

Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal earned his second Grand Slam main draw win with an upset victory over 31st-seeded Alexander Bublik, winning 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

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Men’s second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz began his title bid later Tuesday. Alcaraz, last year’s Wimbledon winner, played Richard Gasquet in the last match of the night session on Rod Laver Arena.

TAGS: Australian Open, Grand Slam, Iga Swiatek

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