The Latest: Nishikori wins in 5 sets in 1st round
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The Latest from the Australian Open on Monday (all times local):
Venus Williams overcame 48 unforced errors to beat Kateryna Kozlova for the second consecutive time in the opening round of a major. The 13th-seeded Williams needed three sets to beat Kozlova at last year’s U.S. Open – and she didn’t have a much easier time on Monday at Melbourne Park.
The seven-time major winner rallied twice from a break down in the opening set before prevailing 7-6 (5), 7-5 in just under two hours.
Williams lost in the first round of the Australian Open last year to eventual semifinalist Johanna Konta. She’s making her 73rd appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam – a record in the Open era.
Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori got off to a sluggish start, had a big letdown during a fourth-set tiebreaker but saved his best or last for a five-set victory Monday over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia at the Australian Open on Monday.Nishikori, who has advanced to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park the past two years, beat Kuznetsov 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-2 in 3 + hours.
Nishikori led 5-2 in the tiebreaker before Kuznetsov rallied to take four consecutive points, then clinched the fourth on his second set point.
In the fifth set, Nishikori broke Kuznetsov’s serve in the fourth and in the last games.
The first player born in the 2000s to play a match at a Grand Slam tournament will have just one.
Destanee Aiava established the first milestone at the 2017 Australian Open, becoming the first player born in this millennium to play a main draw match at a Grand Slam event.
The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student got a wild-card entry to the season’s first major. But she lost to German qualifier Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the opening match on Show Court 2.
French Open champion Garbine Muguruza has beaten New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic in the first round at Melbourne Park for the second time in three years.
Muguruza fought off three break points at 1-4 in the second set and cruised from there, winning the final five games of the match for a 7-5, 6-4 victory.
The seventh seed from Spain took an injury time-out after the first set, but didn’t appear hampered when she returned from the court.
Muguruza hasn’t been past the fourth round of the Australian Open in four appearances.
Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig didn’t waste any time on the opening day of the Australian Open.
The Puerto Rican player, seeded 29th, was the first player to win a match at Melbourne Park this year, defeating Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig 6-0, 6-1 in 53 minutes.
Puig was close to shutting Tig out completely, known in tennis as a ”double bagel,” but made several unforced errors to give the Romanian her first game at 6-0, 5-1. The match was over several minutes later.
Puig stunned the field at last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics to become Puerto Rico’s first-ever gold-medal winner, beating Angelique Kerber in the final.
Simona Halep is the first seeded women’s player to lose at the Australian Open – in the first match on Rod Laver Arena.
American Shelby Rogers defeated the Romanian player 6-3, 6-1, saving the only break point she faced from Halep and breaking her opponent four times.
Rogers will next play the winner of the match between Australian wild-card entry Ash Barty and Annika Beck of Germany in the second round.
France’s Jeremy Chardy has the distinction of winning the first men’s match at this year’s Australian Open, although it was helped by an injury to Nicolas Almagro’s right leg.
Chardy was leading the Spanish player 4-0 in the first set of their match on Court 12 at Melbourne Park when Almagro could not continue due to a calf strain that he first picked up at a tournament in Doha 10 days ago.
Chardy advances to the second round while Almagro walks away with $37,500 as a first-round loser.
”I’ll take it, an easy match never hurts at a long tournament like this,” Chardy said.
Destanee Aiava only had to hit a ball Monday to establish the first milestone at the 2017 Australian Open, becoming the first player born in this millennium to play a main draw match at a Grand Slam event.
The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student got a wild-card entry to the season’s first major. She was playing German qualifier Mona Barthel in the opening match on Show Court 2. Her match started at 11:13 a.m. local time, with Barthel on serve.
Play on the Rod Laver Arena got started with No 4-seeded Simona Halep against Shelby Rogers.
Let the tennis begin.
The opening Grand Slam tournament of the year gets under way Monday at Melbourne Park, with top-seeded Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber set to play their first-round matches at the Australian Open.
The sun was shining with temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) when the gates opened an hour before the scheduled start of play. The forecast high was for 31 C (88 F) rising to 37 C (99 F) on Tuesday.
First up on the main Rod Laver Arena court was Romania’s Simona Halep playing Shelby Rogers of the United States. Murray was scheduled to play the last day match on Rod Laver, and Kerber, who beat Serena Williams in last year’s final, was to open night play.