It was a packed day of action here at the Sydney International as all the remaining first round matches were completed in a single day. It was a great day for the seeds as everyone progressed in their matches with the exception of Elena Vesnina, who had to retire from her match in the second set due to an injury. The seeds performed excellently in their matches, with the rest of them winning their matches and with one of them having to go to the distance. Nevertheless, the second round line-up was set up amidst all the withdrawal problems which did not seem to affect the tournament.
Pavlyuchenkova strolls to victory
It was a comfortable victory for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova against Samantha Stosur to start her Sydney campaign perfectly as she sealed the match in just 65 minutes, a relatively short match. Pavlyuchenkova came out firing as soon as the match started as her fearsome backhands and solid groundstrokes managed to help her get on the attack for most of the times which allowed her to close out the points easily. With the Russian looking on fire, she powered through to the first set as she broke Stosur’s serve once again after she showed some nerves while serving for the set. As Stosur was still unable to go against the backhand of Pavlyuchenkova and was unable to find any answers throughout the match, Stosur soon fell to a straight sets loss which extended her losing streak that started at the 2016 US Open.
Cibulkova dominates the match
Dominika Cibulkova shrugged off her disappointment of her quarterfinal loss at the Brisbane International last week with a comfortable victory over Laura Siegemund losing just two games along the way. After she jumped off to a great start that saw her break service in her opening return game, Siegemund soon broke back and returned on serve on 3-2. However, that was when the German’s game crumbled as Cibulkova won the last nine games of the match to seal the victory. The Slovakian’s game was very solid throughout the match as her solid groundstrokes were an important factor in her dominance in the match today, setting up a blockbuster meeting with wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.
Wozniacki comes through in thriller
Caroline Wozniacki managed to whisker past Monica Puig in a three set match after 2 hours and 12 minutes to send herself into the second round, having met all kinds of trouble against the Rio Olympics champion. The tight first set was not reflected on the scoreboard as one single break of service decided the proceedings in the set, with Wozniacki just hanging on to her lead having to save six break points in the first set. Puig then gained the momentum as she ran out to a 4-0 lead in the second set and eventually leveled the match at one set all. Wozniacki made the perfect start to the final set though, as she broke serve in the opening game to take the early advantage. Similar to the first set, Puig had break point opportunities to break back in the final set but was unable to take her chances well as the sole break of serve proved crucial after Wozniacki closed out the match successfully.
Konta progresses to the second round
Johanna Konta was another seed who was successful in today’s action as she strolled to a victory over lucky loser Arina Rodionova who managed to put up a tough fight in the 92 minutes match. A single break of serve was enough to decide the winner in the first set as Konta went halfway to a victory to start her Sydney campaign. The second set saw much more breaks of service as Konta was pegged back straight at the end when she was serving for the match at 5-2 with a double break lead. However, Rodionova was not able to get the second break back as she went down to the Brit in the tight match.
Strycova gets through tough match
Another blockbuster first round match occurred between Ekaterina Makarova and Barbora Strycova, with the Czech triumphing in straight sets. An early break saw Makarova jump out to a 3-1 lead early in the match but was outplayed by Strycova who won five games in a row to win the first set 6-3. The second set saw much more momentum shifts as four consecutive breaks started the set. With all these service breaks, Makarova missed a chance to serve out the set and make the match level and the set was eventually extended to an 11th game. Strycova held her nerves at the right time as she broke serve once more and successfully served the match out, making a comeback from 3-5 down in the second set to win it 7-5.
Ninth seed Roberta Vinci got through against qualifier Maria Sakkari in a straight sets match after a tight first set and managed to earn a bagel victory in the second set. Vinci looked to add on to her quarterfinal run at the Brisbane International last week as she would next face Barbora Strycova in the second round.
Eighth seed Elena Vesnina was troubled by a lower back injury which impacted her movement throughout the match and eventually retired from the match against Coco Vandeweghe after falling 4-0 behind in the second set. It is a poor start to the season for Vesnina as she also lost her opening match at the Brisbane International where she threw away a big 6-3 4-1 lead in the match. This injury would also definitely leave her participation at the Australian Open in doubt, but most probably it would just be a precaution.
Qualifier Duan Yingying defeated lucky loser Irina Falconi in a very tight match that went close to two hours, as she was able to hand a bagel in the final set to reach the second round and would face Coco Vandeweghe there.
An all-qualifier match between Kateryna Bondarenko and Christina McHale saw another three-set thriller as McHale managed to earn a tough victory over two and a half hours to set up a meeting with Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.
Daria Gavrilova got through a tough match against lucky loser Donna Vekic in her first round match which was briefly interrupted by few rain delays. The second set lasted 72 minutes in total, as it was eventually decided by a one-sided tiebreak which the home favourite won comfortably.
There were three doubles match played today, with Martina Hingis and Coco Vandeweghe being the notable winners of the day.
Katarina Srebotnik and Zheng Saisai fell to Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Kveta Peschke in three sets in their first round match, and wildcards Madison Brengle and Arina Rodionova earned a tough victory over Oksana Kalashnikova and Barbora Krejcikova in their opening round match. Second seeds Martina Hingis and Coco Vandeweghe defeated Kateryna Bondarenko and Yulia Putintseva easily after losing just five games in the whole match to win their first match of 2017.