MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on the Australian Open (all times local):
Novak Djokovic began his bid for an eighth Australian Open title with a 7-6 (5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 win over Jan-Lennard Struff in the last of the matches to finish on a rain-interrupted first day of the tournament.
The defending champion had to deal with a leaky roof as drops of water slowly dripped onto the court behind the baseline at one end and had to be regularly wiped away by ball kids. It was only a minor distraction, though, as he registered his 900th tour-level match win.
Zhang Shuai has beaten Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open for the second time in three years.
The No. 35-ranked Zhang had a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. win over 24th-seeded Stephens in a night match on Margaret Court Arena that finished less than 40 minutes before her 31st birthday. The crowd got in early, singing her the Happy Birthday song,
The ball kids were involved in a mop-up operation on Rod Laver Arena during night matches, with a leaky roof causing drops of water to land behind the baseline at one end.
Heavy rain meant matches on outside courts were postponed by mid-afternoon, but play continued on the three stadium courts with retractable roofs. During Ash Barty’s win over Leisa Tsurenko, the drip, drip, drip had ball kids wiping away at a patch near the Melbourne branding on the main showcourt.
The toweling continued every few points at stages during the first set of defending champion Novak Djokovic’s first-round match against Jan-Lennard Struff.
Stefanos Tsitsipas thrilled his vocal Greek supporters with a 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 win over Salvatore Caruso at Margaret Court Arena. Tsitsipas has been adopted by the large local Greek population in Melbourne and even has a souvlaki named after him at his favorite restaurant, with all proceeds doing to the charity appeal for the local wildfires that have hit the region. Containing those fires was alleviated somewhat by heavy rain that forced suspension of all outside matches by mid-afternoon. Play will begin a half-hour early on Tuesday in an attempt to clear the backlog. The forecast is for improved weather on Tuesday.
Top-ranked Ash Barty wasted little time winning the final two sets of her match against Lesia Tsurenko after a slow start against the Ukrainian player. Barty won 12 of the final 14 games to clinch the match 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. Barty is attempting to become the first Australian woman since Chris O’Neill in 1978 to win the Australian Open singles title. The match was one of only three continuing at Melbourne Park — all of them inside covered arenas — after continuing heavy rain forced a suspension of play on the outside courts.
Top-ranked Ash Barty has leveled her first-round match with Lesia Tsurenko at Rod Laver Arena, winning the second set 6-1 after losing the first 7-5. French Open champion Barty is attempting to become the first Australian woman since Chris O’Neill in 1978 to win the Australian Open singles title.
Grigor Dimitrov won his first-round match but it wasn’t so much his four-set victory that sent social media into a frenzy, but his warm-up track suit that one person described as visual pollution” and another as a fine impersonation of a pair of pajamas.
The jacket and pant combo had matching designs of navy body with yellow dots. Dimitrov said after his 4-6, 6-2 6-0, 6-4 win over Juan Ignacio Londero that since designs are done some eight months in advance, he may have forgotten the color scheme of the bodysuit. When he asked a journalist what she thought of the suit, and she replied she didn’t líke it, Dimitrov smiled and thankéd her for her honesty.
The ATP Tour later tweeted a photo of the warm-up suit.
No. 1-ranked Ash Barty has continued her recent trend of losing her first set in matches. The French Open champion lost 7-5 to Lesia Tsurekno in the first set of her first round match on Rod Laver Arena. Barty is attempting to become the first Australian woman to win her home Grand Slam since Chris O’Neill in 1978.
Heavy rain has forced Australian Open organizers to postpone more than 30 matches to Day 2.
Nine matches were suspended in progress in the afternoon and 23 others on outside courts never got started on Monday.
The three main arenas at Melbourne Park have retractable roofs, allowing play to continue as scheduled.
In the first night match on Melbourne Area, American qualifier Caty McNally upset 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur 6-1, 6-4.___
Coco Gauff has beaten Venus Williams in the first round for the second time in three Grand Slam tournaments.
The 15-year-old Gauff followed up her upset over Williams at Wimbledon last year with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over the 39-year-old, seven-time major winner at the Australian Open.
While play was suspended on all outside courts because of heavy rain over Melbourne, Gauff went to work under the roof on Margaret Court Arena. She served an ace to set up triple match point and converted with a drop shot, which Williams couldn’t retrieve in time.
Gauff was playing her first match in the main draw at Melbourne Park. Williams was in the main draw of a major for an Open Era-record 85th time.
Roger Federer took another step toward a 21st Grand Slam singles title with a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Steve Johnson at Rod Laver Arena.
Federer, playing his first tournament of the season, wasn’t troubled in his match with the American as he seeks his seventh Australian title. He won his first in Melbourne in 2004.
Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova is also through to the second round after beating Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 6-0.
Kvitova lost the final here last year to Naomi Osaka. Afternoon rain suspended play on outside courts but matches continued on the three stadiums with roofs.
Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki beat Kristie Ahn 6-1, 6-3 in the first round of the Australian Open, the last tournament of her professional career.
Wozniacki has announced she will retire after the Australian Open, where she won her first major title in 2018. There were several rain delays in the mid-afternoon, prompting organizers to close the roof on each of the three man show courts. Play was suspended on outside courts when heavy rain fell shortly after the first delay.
Rain is on the forecast for the first two days of the Australian Open.
No. 13-seeded Denis Shapovalov is out of the Australian Open after losing in four sets to Marton Fucsovics. The 20-year-old Canadian lost 6-3, 7-6 (7), 6-1, 7-6 (3). Shapovalov berated the umpire and received a code violation during his ill-tempered match on Margaret Court Arena. The blowup came after the third set.
After throwing his racket, Shapovalov was given the code violation that triggered his outburst.
“I didn’t break it. If I break it, 100% code me,” Shapovalov yelled at umpire Renaud Lichtenstein. “You’re not doing your job. You’re just finding reasons to code me.”
Fucsovics also beat the 13th seed last year at Melbourne Park, that time Sam Querrey in the second round.
“Usually this is not a lucky number, but for me, my favorite number,” he said. “I played some of my best tennis today. Everything was working well.”
Not long after Shapovalov’s exit, rain caused the suspension of matches around the grounds.
Serena Williams won the first set in 19 minutes and had a momentary lapse at the start of the second but completed a 6-0, 6-3 win over Anastasia Potapova. The eighth-seeded Williams is attempting to win her record 24th Grand Slam singles title. Williams had her service broken in the second game of the second set after cruising through the first. But she broke Potapova’s serve two games later, her fifth successful break in six attempts.
Williams won last week’s Auckland tournament.
“I hadn’t been able to win as a mom, so it was nice to finally be able to win a tournament with a 2-year-old now,” Williams said. “”I’ve been pretty close but it was special for me and for her. I hope for her.”
Defending champion Naomi Osaka has won the opening match in Rod Laver Arena, reeling off the last four games after dropping serve for the only time to beat Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 6-4.
Osaka is aiming to be only the ninth woman to successfully defend the Australian Open title. She wasn’t able to do that at the U.S. Open last year, when she lost in the fourth round a year after winning her first major title in New York, but says she learned some valuable lessons there. “Definitely, it was really tough for me trying to control my nerves. I’m really glad I was able to finish it in two,” Osaka said.
She was given the first match on the main court at Melbourne Park on a day when former champions Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will also feature on Rod Laver.
“Thanks everyone. You probably didn’t come for me, but thanks for filling up the stadium,” she said.
Osaka hit 29 winners and 28 unforced errors, pushing No. 59-ranked Bouzkova around with some heavy ground strokes.
Other seeded players advancing included No. 13 Petra Martic and No. 14 Sofia Kenin.
Martic had a 6-3, 6-0 win over Christina McHale and Kenin beat Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-4.
Radu Albot has withdrawn from the Australian Open before his scheduled first-round match against No. 32-seeded Milos Raonic and will be replaced by lucky loser Lorenzo Giustino, an Italian who is ranked 150th. Albot, who finished 2019 ranked 46th, played for Moldova at the season-opening ATP Cup and lost his three singles matches to Daniel Evans, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin in the group stage. Organizers did not immediately release details of Albot’s injury.
Cloudy skies and the threat of rain greeted players and spectators on Day 1 at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the decade.
Defending champion Naomi Osaka was playing the opening match at Rod Laver Arena against Marie Bouzkova. Following that, Serena Williams begins her quest for a record 24th Grand Slam singles title.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic begins his chase for an eighth Australian Open title and third-seeded Roger Federer starts his campaign for a men’s-leading 21st Grand Slam singles title, both in later matches at Rod Laver.
Night matches feature No. 1-ranked Ash Barty, who is hoping to become the first Australian woman to win her home major since 1978, and an American veteran playing a rising star — Venus Williams vs. Coco Gauff.
Weather forecasters are saying there’s a 100% chance of showers along with the possibility of thunderstorms. A high temperature of 21 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) is expected.
More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports