Finally after many expectations, fears, controversies, controversies and hopes, the Australian Open 2021 has begun, the first Grand Slam of the season that will be played at Melbourne Park from 8 to 21 February, with the presence of a part of the crowd in the stands.
All the greatest tennis players on the planet have therefore made an appointment in Melbourne to play one of the most fascinating and important sporting events of the sporting season, the first real appointment with great tennis after the appetizer of the ATP and WTA events in Melbourne the week before the Australian Open.
There is no Roger Federer, who will return on the court in the next ATP Doha event. Significant victory of world number one Ashleigh Barty against Ekaterina Alexandrova. The home player, who had risked squandering a 6-1 5-2 lead against Daria Gavrilova, responds to the tension with a 6-2 6-4 that she builds in just over seventy minutes of play.
Shelby Rogers will be waiting for her in the second round. The day-6 of the Australian Open (unfortunately the first without crowd) still goes on file with some surprises. If only for women. After having won at Wimbledon in 2019, reaching among other things the quarter-finals, Karolina Muchova repeats herself against Karolina Pliskova on the blue of Melbourne Park.
The Czech tennis player, former world number one, she does not take advantage of a 5-3 advantage during the first fraction and she completely jams at 5-0 during the second set. The countrywoman, who also clears a couple of set points in the tenth game, closes a 7-0 mega-split, goes 7-5 7-5 and reaches the round of 16 in a Grand Slam for the fourth time in her career.
Waiting for her will be Elise Mertens, fresh from a rather brutal success against Belinda Bencic. Elina Svitolina's worries lasted practically a set - she never went beyond the quarter-finals in Melbourne - who against Yulia Putinsteva spreads to 6-4 6-0 after just over sixty minutes of play.
On the road to the best result, only Jessica Pegula, who after the initial success against Viktoria Azarenka left the misery of four games between Samantha Stosur and Kiki Mladenovic on the road. One in the first case. In Australia we see Donna Vekic - who had closed 2020 with six consecutive defeats - again in the second round of a Grand Slam tournament after two years. She does not pass the litmus test Kaia Kanepi, beaten right at the photo finish.