Australian Open: Big guns progress as Djokovic, Zverev and Halep all win on Day 2 in Melbourne
Number one seeds Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep led the list of big-name winners on the second day of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
The second day of play in Australia saw the next set of big-name stars take to the courts for the first time in the tournament, with both the men's and women's top seeds entering the fray.
DJOKOVIC KICKS OFF WITH EASY WIN
Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is aiming for his 15th Grand Slam title as he bids to surpass Pete Sampras in the all-time Grand Slam tournament wins list.
And the Serbian superstar breezed through his first-round match against American qualifier Mitchell Kruger, winning by straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
.@DjokerNole ➕ #AusOpen = ❤️#AOChampionpic.twitter.com/mBbyBH7XtI— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2019
Djokovic has never slipped up against a qualifier in a Grand Slam, and he continued that record against Kruger with a dominant display to sail through to the second round, where he'll face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who reached the final in Melbourne back in 2008.
HALEP BATTLES THROUGH AFTER EARLY SCARE
Women's No. 1 seed Simona Halep's passage through to the second round wasn't as straightforward as her male counterpart, as she was made to fight hard to earn her spot in the next round by Kaia Kanepi.
Halep went one set down to the Estonian veteran via a tie-break as fans started to contemplate the possibility of Halep facing back-to-back first-round eliminations in Grand Slam tournaments.
But the Romanian battled back to secure the second and third sets to seal a come-from-behind win, 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-2.
All smiles 😄Top seed @Simona_Halep survives a tough 1R, def. Kanepi 6-7(2) 6-4 6-2.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/S5pnVyvgFb— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2019
Halep moves on to face American Sofia Kenin in the next round.
ZVEREV MAKES WINNING START
There were so such issues for ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, who smoothly progressed to the second round of the men's tournament with a 67-4, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene.
Zverev lost his serve in the seventh game, but broke back twice to win the set before dominating the second and third sets to claim a straight-sets victory.
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The 21-year-old German admitted: "I was a little bit sloppy in the beginning, a little bit sleepy maybe, and the break really was a wake-up call."
But his swift in-game recovery ensured his progress without dropping a set as he moved on to the second round of the tournament.
WILLIAMS SISTERS PROGRESS
Both Serena and Venus Williams secured their spots in the second round of the women's draw after victories on Day 2 in Melbourne.
Serena dropped just two games as the blasted her way to victory over Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-2 in just 49 minutes.
But sister Venus had a rougher ride, as she battled back to defeat Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
Buzarnescu served for the match in the second set, but Venus won the game to love and took the set to a tie-breaker, which she promptly won.
She then dominated the final set to secure a hard-earned win, and admitted afterwards: "It was pretty hairy there! I hope this tough match will prepare me for the rest of the tournament."
OSAKA RACES TO FIRST-ROUND WIN
Women's US Open champion Naomi Osaka also made it through to the second round after a straight-sets win over Magda Linette.
Osaka needed just 58 minutes to see off the challenge of Linette, who had scored a shock win over the American in Washington last year.
But there were no issues this time around as Osaka dominated her Polish opponent to seal a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Sealed with an ace 🎾@Naomi_Osaka_ only needs 58 minutes to def. Magda Linette 6-4 6-2 and advance to the 2R where she'll face Tamara Zidansek. 📹: @Channel9#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/of9nlLgJiw— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2019