Top-seeded Simona Halep started out her Australian Open campaign and defense of the No. 1 ranking on the right foot, but not necessarily the right ankle, on Tuesday in Melbourne, defeating Aussie wildcard Destanee Aiava 7-6(5), 6-1 to move into the second round.
“I felt a pain on the court, but I didn’t have time to check it,” said Halep after tweaking her ankle during the match. “I feel that nothing is broken, but the pain is big. I have to see the doctors…My ankles are not good. That’s why I tape all the time.”
Top 10 winners joining Halep were No. 3 Garbine Muguruza defeating France’s Jessika Ponchet 6-4, 6-3, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova beating Veronica Cepedes Royg 6-3, 6-4, No. 8 Caroline Garcia over German Carina Witthoeft 7-5, 6-3, and No. 9 Johanna Konta rolling American Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1.
“It was a very difficult match because I didn’t know her at all,” Muguruza said of Ponchet. “Her style of game, it was very different. She put me in trouble in a lot of situations.”
On the upset tip Tuesday were Romanian Ana Bogdan over No. 11 Kristina Mladenovic, and German veteran Andrea Petkovic taking out No. 27 Petra Kvitova 10-8 in the third.
“In the third set, I served for a few match points, then I had like twice to serve it out,” Kvitova said afterwards. “In the end I was happy I was able to play anyway.”
Also in the winners bracket among the lower seeds were No. 16 Elena Vesnina, No. 17 Madison Keys, No. 18 Ashleigh Barty in three sets over Aryna Sabalenka, No. 20 Barbora Strycova, No. 21 Angie Kerber, No. 26 Aggie Radwanska edging Kristyna Pliskova in three, No. 28 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni needing three to subdue American Shelby Rogers, and No. 29 Lucie Safarova.
In unseeded action former champ Maria Sharapova was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over German Tatiana Maria in her first return to Melbourne after a doping suspension, and Genie Bouchard recorded a rare win, defeating France’s Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-6(5).
Matches to look for Wednesday on Melbourne’s thin schedule are (4) Elina Svitolina vs. Katerina Siniakova, (12) Julia Goerges vs. Alize Cornet, (19) Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Kirsten Flipkens, and (32) Anett Kontaveit vs. Mona Barthel. Also in action are No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and (7) Jelena Ostapenko.
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