Third seed Naomi Osaka got her Australian Open off to a strong start, thoroughly outclassing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2 in their first-round meeting, needing just 68 minutes to claim victory in Rod Laver Arena.
The 2019 champion was sharp from the start, dropping just 13 points in eight service games while firing 18 winners past the Russian. Osaka next faces Caroline Garcia in the second round on Tuesday.
Osaka clinical in dismissing Pavlyuchenkova
After a matter-of-fact hold to open the match, Osaka stroked a backhand winner that would eventually lead to a break of serve and a 2-0 lead. A second break would be achieved in Pavlyuchenkova's next service game to give the three-time major champion a 4-0 advantage.
The Russian would finally get on the board thanks to an Osaka unforced error, but a double fault gave the third seed a break chance and she duly took it. A game later, she wrapped up an impressive first set in just 33 minutes.
Pavlyuchenkova had to save break point in the first game of the second set after being up 40-0, but she dug out a hold. Osaka would take control soon after, a glorious backhand securing her fourth break of the contest and a 2-1 lead.
After cruising on her own serve, the 2019 champion was pushed to deuce, but managed to pull through and extend her lead to 4-2. Another break gave her the chance to serve for the match and a game later, an unforced error by the Russian sealed a most impressive performance by Osaka.