MELBOURNE, Australia, Sporting Alert — Latest results from the 2018 Australian Open Women’s Singles after Day 2 on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Garcia were all among the winners in the first-round at Melbourne Park.
Top-seed Halep battled her way into the second round as she seeks to win her maiden Grand Slam title.
The Romanian entered the match as the firm favorite, but was forced to save two set points before beating Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava 7-6(5) 6-1 in one hour, 51 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
Halep came through a scare after twisting her left ankle as she reached for a wide forehand early in the second set.
Former champion Sharapova, who returns to Melbourne after missing last year’s tournament because of a doping suspension, enjoyed a winning return to the Australian Open.
The Russian 2008 champion easily brushed aside Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-1 6-4 on Tuesday to advance to the second round.
“There was a lot of firsts again for me, Sharapova said, “playing the first tournament, first Grand Slam, and just different feelings and what it would be routinely.
“But it felt pretty routine today. Just really happy to be back here.”
Former world number one and Australian Open 2016 winner Angelique Kerber of Germany, was also in good form when cruising into the second-round on Day 2.
Kerber, the No. 21 seed, took a little over an hour to beat fellow countrywoman Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0 6-4.
Meanwhile, No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova swept aside Paraguayan Veronica Cepede Royg, 6-3 6-4 in the first round to keep her hopes of winning a maiden Grand Slam title alive.
“The first one is always the toughest for me,” Pliskova, who made the Australian Open and U.S. Open quarter-finals last year, said
“…Hopefully I take it match-by-match and I think I’ll have a good chance.”
Elsewhere, No. 8 seed Caroline Garcia of France defeated German big-hitter Carina Witthoeft 7-5 6-3, ninth-seeded Johanna Konta of Great Britain eased past American Madison Brengle 6-3 6-1, while Wimbledon champion and 2017 Australian Open quarter-finalist Garbine Muguruza of Spain defeated France’s Jessika Ponchet 6-4 6-3.