Australian Open 2022: Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal reach second round of Grand Slam
Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3.
Rafael Nadal has renewed his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam singles title with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over American Marcos Giron.
Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are tied with 20 major singles titles each. Federer is not playing due to his lengthy recovery from right knee surgery, and nine-time champion Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday due to problems with his visa, his COVID-19 vaccination status, and a court hearing which didn’t go his way.
Nadal is also bidding to become the second man in the Open Era — and only the fourth man — to win each of the four Grand Slam singles titles twice. Djokovic completed the double by winning his second title at Roland Garros in 2021. Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only other men to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.
Osaka beat Osorio
Defending champion Naomi Osaka has had a relatively trouble-free 6-3, 6-3 win over Camila Osorio in her first-round match on Rod Laver Arena. The four-time Grand Slam singles champion won the first five games of the match before Osorio hit back.
Osaka advances to the second round against either Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle.
Former No 1 Osaka slid down the rankings last year after taking time out following her withdrawal at the French Open. She is 13th at the Australian Open, where she won last year and in 2019.
Osorio is ranked 50th in the world and was making her main draw debut at Melbourne Park. Next up on the same court is Rafael Nadal's match against American Marcos Giron.
Sakkari in second round
Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari beat Tatjana Maria 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the first match completed on the main show court in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
She said the experience was “weird . . . in a good way.”
“I was a little bit stressed, opening the tournament on this wonderful court,” she said. “It’s a privilege to have my first match here.”
Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3, and 15th-seeded Elina Svitolina had a 6-1, 7-6 (4) win over Fiona Ferro in other early results.
Rafael Nadal eased into the last 16 of the Italian Open on Wednesday with a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 win over John Isner, while Iga Swiatek is on course for a fifth straight WTA triumph.
The Russian invasion has been 'draining' for the former World No. 3 as some of Svitolina's family members remain in Ukraine and 'are all hiding in the basement'.
Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest player since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990 to beat three top-five players at the same event.