Australian Open: Maria Sakkari Beats Former French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko

Greece's Maria Sakkari hits a backhand return to Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has been beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 by Maria Sakkari in the first round at Melbourne Park.

The 22nd-seeded Ostapenko, who also advanced to the semifinals at Wimbledon last year, had beaten Sakkari in three sets in their only previous meeting at Charleston in 2017.

It’s been a poor start to the season for Ostapenko. She lost in the first round to eventual finalist Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International after also losing in the first round at Shenzhen.

Sakkari had an early service break in the deciding set, then broke again to take a 4-1 lead at Melbourne Arena, the tournament’s third show court. The Greek player used two aces to clinch the next game and take a 5-1 lead, then served out to love two games later to win the match.

Greece’s Maria Sakkari makes a forehand return to Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Greece’s Maria Sakkari serves to Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Greece’s Maria Sakkari reacts after winning a point against Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

2018 champion Wozniacki wins at Australian Open
BC-TEN–Australian Open-The Latest
Jan 14, 2019 11:56AM (GMT 09:56) – 2052 words
Eds: With AP Photos.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Monday at the Australian Open: (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki saved a break point in the opening game but there was little trouble to follow as she beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3, 6-4 in the first round. Woznicaki, who saved both break points she faced, clinched the match on her third match point with a forehand to the open court.

The third-seeded Wozniacki beat Simona Halep in last year’s final to capture her first major title.

Wozniacki opened night play at Rod Laver Arena, where three tournament champions preceded her and all won — Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal and Angelique Kerber. Defending men’s champion Roger Federer was set to play a night match against Denis Istomin.

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8:15 p.m.

Local favorite Ashleigh Barty fell behind 2-0 early and then won the next six games on her way to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Luksika Kumkhum at Margaret Court Arena.

Barty, who lost last week’s Sydney International final to Petra Kvitova, beating No. 1-ranked Simona Halep along the way, broke the Thai player’s serve to take a 3-2 lead in the second set, held and then took a 5-2 lead with her second break of the set.

She clinched the match with a forehand to the open court in 57 minutes.

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6:35 p.m.

Tomas Berdych sent 2018 Australian Open semifinalist Kyle Edmund home right away this year.

Berdych picked up a surprisingly easy victory over the 13th-seeded Edmund on Monday, beating him 6-3, 6-0, 7-5.

The biggest difference? Edmund made 36 unforced errors, 22 more than Berdych. Edmund also managed to earn only one break point and failed to convert it, while Berdych broke him five times.

Berdych was the 2010 runner-up at Wimbledon and he twice has been a semifinalist at the Australian Open.

Edmund’s top result at a major came a year ago in Melbourne.

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5:25 p.m.

John Isner hit more aces than his opponent, 47-40. He delivered more total winners and finished with more overall points, too. What Isner failed to do for the first time in his career was beat an American foe at a Grand Slam tournament, and now the highest-ranked man from the U.S. is gone from the Australian Open.

Reilly Opelka, ranked just 97th, earned his first victory in a main-draw match at a major by edging Isner in four tiebreakers 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5).

Isner was seeded No. 9, was a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year and had been 9-0 in all-U.S. contests at the Slams.

If anyone is the 33-year-old’s equal when it comes to big serving, though, it’s Opelka, a 21-year-old based in Florida who at 6-foot-11 (2.11 meters) is an inch (3 centimeters) taller than Isner.

Isner went up a break in the fourth set and served to force a fifth while ahead 5-4. But he got broken there, missing one backhand followed by a trio of forehands. Opelka took the eventual — inevitable? — tiebreaker with the help with of three aces, including one at 227 kph (141 mph) to close out the match.

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5 p.m.

Katie Boulter started celebrating a bit too soon during her first-round win over Ekaterina Makarova at Melbourne Park. Blame the new tiebreaker being used for the first time this year at the tournament.

Boulter beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (6), including 10-6 in the tiebreaker. But the British player started celebrating and went to the net when she reached 7-4 in the tiebreaker , forgetting the third-set decider wasn’t using a conventional count.

The new rule is first to 10 with a two-point cushion was introduced to ensure matches don’t get too lengthy — previously the third set in women’s matches and the fifth set in men’s matches at the Australian Open had to be decided by a two-game advantage

In the men’s singles draw, the first four sets will feature the regular seven-point tiebreaker at 6-6, with the final set going to a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6.

In women’s singles play and men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the deciding set of three sets will be played with a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6.

Wimbledon announced in October it will have a standard first-to-seven-points tiebreaker when the deciding set reaches 12-12.

The U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to introduce final-set tiebreakers, with a first-to-seven-points game at 6-6.

The French Open is the only remaining Grand Sam still decided by a long deciding set by advantage.

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4:45 p.m.

Second-seeded Angelique Kerber is through to the second round at Melbourne Park with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Polona Hercog.

The 2016 champion needed just 72 minutes to beat the Slovenian player, saving all four break points she faced and winning four of five break points on Hercog’s serve.

Kerber became the first German woman since Steffi Graf at the 1999 French Open to win a major when she beat Serena Williams in the final here three years ago.

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3:10 p.m.

Fifth-seeded Sloane Stephens ended a three-match losing streak in first-round matches at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow American Taylor Townsend.

Stephens lost in the first round of the Australian Open in 2015, 2016 and 2018. She missed the 2017 tournament here after undergoing foot surgery and went on to win the U.S. Open later the same year.

Stephens and Townsend were among 15 American women in the singles main draw this year, including those who qualified.

Townsend has lost all three first-round matches she has played in Melbourne.

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3 p.m.

Rafael Nadal wasn’t about to let another Australian wild-card entry beat him at a Grand Slam tournament.

The Spanish left-hander beat No. 238th-ranked James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, his 15th win in 17 matches against wild cards at Grand Slam tournaments.

Nadal’s only previous defeats to wildcard entrants at majors were against American James Blake in the third round of the 2005 U.S. Open and Australian Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2014.

Nadal, wearing a sleeveless top, did an extended left-arm celebratory pump after breaking Duckworth’s serve after two cross-court stunners to lead 4-2 in the third set.

His only stumble as he served for the match and was broken by Duckworth, who got back to 5-4. But Nadal returned the favor, breaking the Australian in the final game of the match.

Nadal has only lost twice in the first round at Grand Slams — to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon, and to Fernando Verdasco at Melbourne Park in 2016.

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2:05 p.m.

Fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson has overcome traditional poor first-round performances at Melbourne Park with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win over Adrian Mannarino.

Anderson has lost in the first round here six times, including to Kyle Edmund last year. It was the South African’s first win in Melbourne since 2015.

He warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his sixth ATP tour title at Pune, India.

Mannarino became upset when Anderson took a lengthy bathroom break after the third set, complaining to the umpire. The Frenchman’s mood wasn’t improved when he lost his service game to open the fourth set.

Mannarino recorded his best performance at Melbourne Park by advancing to the third round last year. He went into Monday’s match having lost in the first round at Doha and at last week’s Sydney International.

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1:45 p.m.

Katie Boulter has the distinction of winning the first 10-point tiebreaker under the Australian Open’s new system for determining level deciding sets.

Boulter beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (6), including 10-6 in the tiebreaker in which the first player to reach 10 with an advantage of two points clinches the match.

In the men’s singles draw, the first four sets will feature a seven-point tiebreaker at 6-6, with the final set going to a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6.

In women’s singles play and men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the deciding set of three sets will be played with a 10-point tiebreaker at 6-6.

Wimbledon announced in October it will have a standard first-to-seven-points tiebreaker when the deciding set reaches 12-12.

The U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to introduce final-set tiebreakers, with a first-to-seven-points game at 6-6.

The French Open is the only remaining Grand Sam still decided by a long deciding set by advantage.

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12:20 p.m.

Maria Sharapova got out of the Melbourne heat as quickly as she could, needing just 63 minutes to beat British qualifier Harriet Dart 6-0, 6-0 in the first match on Rod Laver Arena at this year’s Australian Open.

Sharapova, who wore an ice collar during breaks to help alleviate the 30 degree Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) temperature, was making her 15th appearance at the season-opening major.

The only break point Sharapova faced was when she double-faulted in the fifth game of the second set.

Dart, who described Sharapova as her idol before the match, lost in the first round at Wimbledon last year after being given a wild card in her only previous Grand Slam singles appearance.

The 22-year-old Dart had a game point on her serve in the eighth game of the match, but Sharapova rallied to break the British player and continue the rout.

Another British player, Heather Watson, also lost early on day one, beaten 6-1, 6-2 by 31st-seeded Petra Martic.

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10:30 a.m.

Maria Sharapova will be the first of five former champions playing on Rod Laver Arena on day one of the Australian Open.

Sharapova, who won her only Australian title 11 years ago, was playing Harriet Dart in the opening match on Monday. Rafael Nadal, who won his only Australian title in 2009, was set to play James Duckworth, followed by 2016 winner Angelique Kerber against Polona Hercog.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was scheduled to play Alison Van Utyvanck to start the night session, followed by six-time Australian champion Roger Federer’s match against Denis Istomin.

The night session on center court was set to begin with a ceremony honoring the man himself, Rod Laver, on the anniversary of his second Grand Slam of singles majors in 1969.

The temperature was 26 degrees Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) as players warmed up for the opening matches, and was expected to rise to 34C (93F) later in the day.