herald

Friday 17 November 2017

Coffee-deprived Azarenka and Del Potro march on in Oz

VICTORIA AZARENKA missed her morning coffee and was in no mood to hang around in the Melbourne heat after getting her Australian Open campaign off to a winning start with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Britain's Heather Watson on Rod Laver Arena.

Former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, however, took a lot longer to get going in his first round match against French left hander Adrian Mannarino before eventually running out a 2-6 6-1 7-5 6-4 winner.

Defending women's champion Kim Clijsters showed no ill effects of a recent hip injury and saw off a spirited challenge from Portuguese qualifier Maria Joao Koehler.

The Belgian struggled to get to grips with lefthander Koehler's serve in the first set but gradually moved up through the gears to run out a 7-5 6-1 winner.

Blue skies welcomed the players to the tournament's opening day at Melbourne Park, with temperatures rising quickly to flirt with 30°C before midday.



Trouble

World number two Rafa Nadal took a little bit of time to get into his work but advanced to the second round with a 6-4 6-1 6-1 victory over Alex Kuznetsov.

The 10-times grand slam winner, who is battling a niggling shoulder injury and has said his knees were still a concern, took 44 minutes to take the first set against the persistent American.

The 25-year-old left-hander ran away with the next two sets, however, dominating from the baseline

World number three Azarenka, who only arrived in Melbourne on Saturday after she won the Sydney International title, needed just 67 minutes to beat Watson, though she paid a high price for an early morning practice session.

"I didn't get my coffee in the morning today, so I was really pissed off," she said to laughter. So tomorrow I'm getting it. It was so early and I wanted to come play a little bit longer on centre court. Everything was closed. I said, 'Oh my God, I need my coffee'.

"So I kept trying to open my eyes without it and it was not working."

The Belarusian will next face Australian wildcard Casey Dellacqua, who beat Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski 6-3 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News