Australian Open overnight: Medvedev cruises, Raducanu survives on Day 2
The first Grand Slam of 2022 is officially underway. Each morning, we'll review the action you may have missed Down Under. Here's what happened overnight on Day 2 of the Australian Open
Top story: Medvedev keeps streak alive
Title favorite Daniil Medvedev has moved into the second round with a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Henri Laaksonen, extending his Grand Slam winning streak to eight matches.
That includes his victory in the U.S. Open final last September, a result that denied top-ranked Novak Djokovic a calendar-year Grand Slam.
“I’m feeling great . . . hopefully I can show some good signs here throughout the two weeks,” No. 2-seeded Medvedev said. “I like pressure."
Medvedev is bidding to become the first Russian man to win the Australian Open title since Marat Safin, who beat Lleyton Hewitt in the final in 2005.
Raducanu wins back-and-forth affair
Emma Raducanu has beaten Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 in a seesawing first-round match between U.S. Open champions.
The No. 17-seeded Raducanu won the first set in 17 minutes and seemed to be in complete control of her debut main draw match at Melbourne Park.
But Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open winner, converted her fifth break point chance to open the second set in a 12-minute game that finished on a pair of double-faults from Raducanu, the 2021 U.S. Open winner.
Two early service breaks gave Raducanu a 5-0 lead and she served it out to finish in 1 3/4 hours. It was her first win of 2022.
Raducanu will play No. 98-ranked Danka Kovinic in the next round.
The match brought Day 2 to a close, finishing minutes after men’s fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas wrapped up the program on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win over Mikael Ymer.
Tsitsipas, a runner-up at the French Open and a semifinalist in Australia last year, will play Sebastian Baez in the next round.
Murray beats Basilashvili again
Five-time finalist Andy Murray needed a tough five-setter over a player he beat last week to register his first win in an Australian Open match since 2017.
Murray beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 to move into the second round.
Murray also fended off Basilashvili last week in a three-hour three setter on the way to the final in a Sydney tuneup event.
In another tough five-setter, Maxime Cressy beat fellow American and 22nd-seeded John Isner 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-4.
Sabalenka avoids upset
Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka rallied from a set and a break down to beat wild card Storm Sanders 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the first-round night match on Rod Laver Arena.
Sabalenka lost her opening matches at two tune-up tournaments and appeared to be headed the same way when she trailed No. 128-ranked Sanders 3-1 in the second set.
But she rebounded to win the next nine games and 11 of the last 13 to secure the win.
Sabalenka will next play Wang Xinyu, who opened with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Ann Li.
Fernandez falters again in Melbourne
U.S. Open finalist Leylah Fernandez has lost in the first round of the Australian Open to local wild-card entry Maddison Inglis.
Fernandez had 30 unforced errors and only eight winners, and was broken three times. She saved two match points before Ingis, who is ranked 133rd, served out 6-4, 6-2 on 1573 Arena.
For Inglis, it was a first win in a Grand Slam main draw. She lost in the first round at last year’s Australian Open to then defending champion Sofia Kenin.
It was the third straight year that Fernandez, a 19-year-old Canadian who was runner-up to Emma Raducanu at last year’s U.S Open, has lost in the first round at Melbourne Park.
Motivated Muguruza marching on
Garbiñe Muguruza has extended her first-round success record at Melbourne Park. The 2020 Australian Open finalist and winner of the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon tournaments has never lost a first-round match in her now 10th year of competition here.
Muguruza beat Clara Burel 6-3, 6-4 to open play on Rod Laver Arena.
“I am aware, I am aware," Muguzura said, laughing, when asked if she was aware of her perfect streak in first-round matches. ”I am so motivated here . . . you are so nervous when everybody can beat everyone, so very happy I managed to finish it off."
The 20-year-old Burel is one of eight women from France to start the main draw at Melbourne Park — the most since 2012.