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Australian Open 2021: Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty Headline Tuesday's Results

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2021

Australia's Ashleigh Barty reacts after defeating Montenegrin's Danke Kovinic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Women's top seed Ashleigh Barty won her first-round match at the 2021 Australian Open without dropping a single game during Tuesday's action at Melbourne Park.

Reigning champion Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova were the other notable winners in the women's bracket on Day 2 of the season's first major, while two-time tournament champion Victoria Azarenka was upset by American upstart Jessica Pegula.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal headlined the men's play by cruising to the second round with a straight-sets triumph over Laslo Dere. Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas were among the other contenders to advance in the bottom half of the draw.

             

Notable Results

Men's Bracket

(2) Rafael Nadal d. Laslo Dere; 6-3, 6-4, 6-1

(4) Daniil Medvedev d. Vasek Pospisil; 6-2, 6-2, 6-4

(5) Stefanos Tsitsipas d. Gilles Simon; 6-1, 6-2, 6-1

(7) Andrey Rublev d. Yannick Hanfmann; 6-3, 6-3, 6-4

(9) Matteo Berrettini d. Kevin Anderson; 7-6 (9), 7-5, 6-3

Radu Albot d. (12) Roberto Bautista Agut; 6-7 (1), 6-0, 6-4, 7-6 (5)

Alexei Popyrin d. (13) David Goffin; 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-3

(16) Fabio Fognini d. Pierre-Hugues Herbert; 6-4, 6-2, 6-3

(19) Karen Khachanov d. Aleksandar Vukic; 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-4

(21) Alex de Minaur d. Tennys Sandgren; 7-5, 6-1, 6-1

(22) Borna Coric d. Guido Pella; 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-5

(24) Casper Ruud d. Jordan Thompson; 6-3, 6-3, 2-1 (ret.)

Mikael Ymer d. (26) Hubert Hurkacz; 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3

(28) Filip Krajinovic d. Robin Haase; 7-6 (4), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Cameron Norrie d. (30) Dan Evans; 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5

(31) Lorenzo Sonego d. Sam Querrey; 7-5, 6-4, 6-4

                

Women's Bracket

(1) Ashleigh Barty d. Danka Kovinic; 6-0, 6-0

(4) Sofia Kenin d. Maddison Inglis; 7-5, 6-4

(5) Elina Svitolina d. Marie Bouzkova; 6-3, 7-6 (5)

(6) Karolína Pliskova d. Jasmine Paolini; 6-0, 6-2

(11) Belinda Bencic d. Lauren Davis; 6-3, 4-6, 6-1

Jessica Pegula d. (12) Victoria Azarenka; 7-5, 6-4

Kaja Juvan d. (13) Johanna Konta; 4-6, 2-0 (ret.)

Olga Danilovic d. (16) Petra Martic; 7-5, 3-6, 6-4

(18) Elise Mertens d. Leylah Annie Fernandez; 6-1, 6-3

Kristina Mladenovic d. (20) Maria Sakkari; 6-2, 0-6, 6-3

(21) Anett Kontaveit d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich; 7-5, 6-2

(22) Jennifer Brady d. Aliona Bolsova; 6-1, 6-3

(25) Karolina Muchova d. Jelena Ostapenko; 7-5, 6-2

(26) Yulia Putintseva d. Sloane Stephens; 4-6, 6-2, 6-3

(28) Donna Vekic d. Yafan Wang; 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

(29) Ekaterina Alexandrova d. Martina Trevisan; 6-3, 6-4

             

Barty has advanced to the latter stages of the Australian Open each of the past two years, reaching the quarterfinals in 2019 and the semifinals in 2020, and her performance Tuesday firmly establishes the Australia native as a top contender to win her home Slam this year.

The 2019 French Open winner was highly efficient, winning 89 percent of her service points and committing just five unforced errors compared to 28 for Kovinic.

She'll also benefit from crowd support in Melbourne, with the tournament allowing up to 30,000 fans on the grounds each day amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The bonus particularly for us players in these next two weeks is that we've got crowds, we've got people to enjoy it with us, and that's a really, really special part of this week," Barty said after her win.

Meanwhile, Azarenka looked out of sorts for most of her loss to Pegula, racking up 25 unforced errors and seven double-faults.

The event's back-to-back winner in 2012 and 2013 said trying to prepare for the tournament while following quarantine guidelines upon her arrival to Australia didn't work for her.

"Was that the best preparation for me? No," Azarenka told reporters. "The biggest impact for me personally has been not being able to have fresh air. That really took a toll. I don't know how to prepare after two weeks in quarantine. I don't have a blueprint how to prepare. It's all about trying to figure it out and I didn't figure it out. Not this time."

Nadal also wasn't at peak performance in his opening match, finishing with more unforced errors (24) than winners (19) and winning just 46 percent of points on his second serve, but his strong return game came to the rescue as he secured six breaks to advance.

"Here I am to try my best as always. That's it. Let's go day by day. Today I was able to find a way to be through. That gives me the chance to have one more day tomorrow," Nadal said. "Of course, was not ideal preparation for me, but I am still alive, no? That's the main thing."

The 2021 Australian Open resumes Wednesday with the start of the second round. Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Dominic Thiem are among the high seeds in action.

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