The second day of the Adelaide international featured eight matches as six in the first round and two in the second round made up the schedule. Top seed and world number one Ashleigh Barty as well as second seed Simona Halep were the headliners on the day.
Barty passes Pavlyuchenkova test, Halep smoothly moves past Tomljanovic
The home country favorite dropped her third straight set to start the season as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova rode a break in the fifth game to take the lead, saving a break point of her own in the sixth game before Barty leveled matters, breaking twice to take the second set.
There were five breaks in seven games in the third set, but the decisive one came in the eleventh game, Pavlyuchenkova missing a forehand just wide to give the world number one the decisive advantage. She closed out the 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory after the Russian sailed a backhand wide.
It's something I pride myself on is that no matter what the score is, I try and hang around for the whole match every time", Barty said after the match.
Halep made it three wins in three career meetings against Ajla Tomljanovic as she hit 19 winners, including seven aces and converted four of five break chances in the 6-4, 7-5 victory. "I felt like I served pretty well today", she said after the victory. "I moved pretty well. I was strong on my legs. I need some matches, but it was OK."
Sabalenka, Vondrousova, Goerges among first round winners
Elsewhere, sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka avenged an upset loss to Hsieh Su-Wei from Birmingham last year with a 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 victory. Eighth seed Marketa Vondrousova made a successful return from wrist surgery with a dominant 6-3, 6-0 victory over Tatjana Maria. Also moving on was Julia Goerges, who fought past Aussie wild card Priscilla Hon 7-6 (6), 6-3.
Maria Sakkari recorded a 7-5, 6-1 win over lucky loser Vitalia Diatchenko and Bernarda Pera moved on with a 7-6 (6), 6-3 triumph over Barbora Strycova. Not as fortunate was Sloane Stephens, upset for the second straight week, this time in decisive fashion by qualifier Arina Rodionova 6-2, 6-2 searching for her form as she heads to the first major of the year, the Australian Open.