Aryna Sabalenka commenced her Australian Open title defense with an emphatic victory over Germany's Ella Seidel in Melbourne. The world number two showcased dominance, overpowering the 18-year-old qualifier 6-0, 6-1 in a swift 53-minute encounter on Sunday.
While she missed the chance to secure a win without dropping a game, Aryna Sabalenka's ruthless performance demonstrated her prowess on the court. Greek eighth seed Maria Sakkari also advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Japan's Nao Hibino, marking her first Grand Slam win in a year.
In another highlight, Danish wildcard and 2018 Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki progressed to the second round as Polish 20th seed Magda Linette retired with an injury. Despite Linette's early exit due to discomfort, Wozniacki showcased her determination in Melbourne. The night's proceedings were marked by Novak Djokovic's extended victory, leading to a late start for Sabalenka's match.
Sabalenka, the second seed, demonstrated her dominance from the outset, securing a 5-0 lead in the opening set within 22 minutes. Despite Seidel's efforts to salvage the second set, Sabalenka eventually sealed the win after squandering a few match points. Reflecting on her performance, Sabalenka emphasized the need to continue working hard for her tennis dreams. She is set to face 16-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova in the next round.
Maria Sakkari, returning to winning ways, faced no issues against Nao Hibino and secured a comfortable victory. Despite a challenging 2023, Sakkari expressed happiness over her performance in the first round. American Amanda Anisimova made an impressive comeback, defeating 13th seed Liudmila Samsonova, while Czech ninth seed Barbora Krejcikova staged a comeback victory against Mai Hontama. The extended 15-day Australian Open aims to avoid late finishes, marking its first Sunday start.