Women’s Tennis Blog is back from a two-week vacation, just in time for the Australian Open. We missed a lot of action leading up to the first Grand Slam of the season, but now we’ll make sure not to miss a bit of the Australian major. So let’s see what happened on Day 1.
Top seed and world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, playing her first Grand Slam as a top-ranked player, won the first round against Gisela Dulko 6-3 6-4. The world No.52 Dulko scored 35 winners, but outweighed them with 38 unforced errors. Her conversion of break points was also bad – only 1 of 8.
Wozniacki’s opponent in the second round will be Vania King, who defeated Tamira Paszek to advance. Wozniacki and King have played each other only once so far, last year at Indian Wells, but it was an absolute battle as Wozniacki rallied from 4-1 deficit in the third set to get past her first match of the tournament.
Fourth seed Venus Williams is playing for the first time since the 2010 US Open semifinals and warming up is not an issue for her as in her opening match against Sara Errani she had 33 winners against 18 unforced errors, hit 8 aces and won 15 of 20 points at the net. Final score: 6-3 6-2.
Maria Sharapova, sporting her new Nike Oz Open Ace Dress with adjustable straps, started her match against Tamarine Tanasugarn nervously, as last year she also played the first round on Rod Laver Arena and lost to Maria Kirilenko badly. The 14th-seeded Sharapova didn’t let the history repeat, and although she lost her opening game to love, she beat Tanasugarn 6-1 6-3.
Another big name, Justine Henin, also advanced, but only after digging deep against always-tricky Sania Mirza. Seed No.11 Henin eventually managed to take control and win 5-7 6-3 6-1.
Many more seeds are also through: Yanina Wickmayer, Francesca Schiavone, Li Na, Victoria Azarenka, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Andrea Petkovic, Marion Bartoli, Dominika Cibulkova, Tsvetana Pironkova, and Kaia Kanepi. Daniela Hantuchova and Aravane Rezai suffered upsets – Rezai to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, and Hantuchova to Regina Kulikova. (photos via WTA Tour and Nike)