Australian Open heats up as sun comes out on day two

2021-02-09 13:35:51 GMT2021-02-09 21:35:51(Beijing Time) Xinhua English


SYDNEY, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Both the temperature and atmosphere lifted on day two of the Australian Open (AO), with more big name players progressing amid several upsets.

Tuesday's matches saw Rafael Nadal and women's No. 1 Ash Barty move to round two. Nadal beat Serbia's Laslo Dere, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1, while Barty powered through Montenegrin Danka Kovinic, 6-0, 6-0.

Earlier in the day, in one of the biggest upsets of the tournament so far, two-time AO champion Victoria Azarenka was stunned by world No. 61 Jessica Pegula, giving up an early lead to finish, 7-5, 6-4.

Azarenka was among more then 70 players required to undertake a two-week hard quarantine in the lead up to the tournament after cases of COVID-19 were detected on arriving charter flights.

The 31-year-old said while that undoubtedly affected her performance she was forced to accept the result.

"Of course, it has impacted... but try to sit here and find an excuse because of quarantine, this is just something that... it is what it is," Azarenka said.

"I'm just disappointed, not being able to perform my best. Leaving the Australian Open soon is also disappointing."

Meanwhile, last year's champion Sofia Kenin secured her place in the second round despite appearing shaky off the blocks against local wild card Maddison Inglis, 7-5 6-4.

"I felt a little bit of pressure. She obviously came out swinging. I knew she was going to play well," Kenin said.

Fellow 2020 finalist Garbine Muguruza dismantled her round one opponent Margarita Gasparyan from Russia 6-4, 6-0, while world No. 5 Elina Svitolina held on in a second set tiebreak to overcome Czech player Marie Bouzkova, 6-3, 7-6.

In another upset, local wildcard Alexei Popyrin came back from four match points to topple 13th seeded David Goffin, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-3.

"I was like, I was nearly on the brink of losing. When you come back from match points it gives you confidence for the upcoming rounds," an exuberant Popyrin said after the match.

Also in the men's competition, fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Frenchman Gilles Simon, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 and Daniil Medvedev made similar short work of Vasek Pospisil, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.

China's contingent of female players found mixed results on day two with Zhu Lin progressing, while Zhang Shuai, Wang Yafan and Zheng Saisai were all eliminated.

Zhu breezed past 18-year-old Whitney Osuigwe 6-1, 6-1, earning her place in the second round, while former doubles champion Zhang proved no match for U.S. newcomer Ann Li, losing 6-2, 6-0.

Later in the day, Zheng survived four match points before finally succumbing to Czech Barbora Krejcikova, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, while Wang found herself overpowered by Donna Vekic from Croatia, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6.