Japan's Naomi Osaka celebrates after defeating Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in their first round singles match the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Japan's Naomi Osaka celebrates after defeating Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in their first round singles match the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)|Associated Press
Tennis

Abrams: First Round Women’s Highlights from the 2020 Australian Open

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

In the top half of the draw, in a match that might have been expected to have been much closer, 13th seeded Petra Martic of Croatia took little time to show her expertise and completely swamped 27 year-old veteran American Christina McHale 6-3, 6-0 to set up a Round of 64 match with 39th ranked German Julia Goerges that should be competitive.

Homegirl Ash Barty needed three tough sets to take out the gritty Ukrainian, Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 in the third, and Barty will now take on Petra Hercog in the second round. Hercog is coming off of a good win in which she knocked out Swede Rebecca Peterson in straight sets.

Twenty-five-year-old Chinese star Lin Zhu needed an exciting third set tiebreaker to record a nifty 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 victory over 5’7” Swiss Miss Viktorija Golubic and move into Tuesday’s Round of 64, where she’ll face 18th ranked American Alison Riske.

Greece’s favorite daughter, 22nd seeded Maria Sakkari had little trouble dispatching Russian Margarita Gasparyan in straight sets and will now tangle with Japan’s 103rd ranked Nao Hibino, who first qualified for the main draw and then knocked off China’s own Shuai Peng in three close, tough sets.

Japan’s defending champion Naomi Osaka used two quick sets to defeat 21 year old Czech Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 6-4 and set up a highly anticipated match with China’s Saisai Zheng, who used little energy to quickly dispatch Russian 21-year-old qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 3 and 2.

Popular American teenager Coco Gauff beat Venus Williams in yet another first round encounter (they played in the first round of Wimbledon back in July), and she’ll now engage Romanian 29-year-old Sorana Cirstea, after the Bucharest native knocked off 33rd ranked Barbora Strycova in straight sets.

Other first round winners include American Maddy Keyes, 25-year-old Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, Czech qualifier Barbora Krejcikova, Spanish pride (by way of New York City) Paula Badosa, Petra Kvitova, Shuai Zhang (who once again knocked off American Sloane Stephens), 17-year-old American Caty McNally (who blew away hometown favorite Sam Stosur), American 19-year-old Ann Li from Philadelphia, Pembroke Pines’ Pride, Sofia Kenin, the 14th seed, Ons Jabeur, Caroline Garcia, Caroline Wozniacki, Dayna Yastremska, Serena Williams, and Belinda Bencic.

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