Australian Open: Defending champion Victoria Azarenka joins Caroline Wozniacki in reaching the second round
Azarenka defeated Johanna Larsson 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 while Wozniacji breezed past Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0 6-2
Tuesday 14 January 2014
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki reached the second round of the Australian Open in contrasting styles on a baking hot day in Melbourne.
Temperatures soared above 40C but that was still not enough for the tournament to implement the extreme heat policy, which would see play suspended on open courts and the roof shut on Rod Laver and Hisense Arena.
Whether the policy is used is a decision made by tournament referee Wayne McKewen, and a combination of heat and humidity is taken into account.
Second seed Azarenka, who has won the title for the last two years, spent an hour and 46 minutes on court in defeating Swede Johanna Larsson 7-6 (7/2) 6-2.
Larsson twice served for the first set only for Azarenka to break back and then win the tie-break convincingly.
The Belarusian described the conditions as "like dancing in a frying pan", but said: "It wasn't too bad. I went to practise after so I'm okay.
"It's not easy those conditions but it's the same for everybody. You just have to adapt to it and try to do the best things to prepare. Actually I felt better as the match was going on than in the beginning."
Azarenka, who meets Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the next round, was not concerned by her first-set struggles.
She said: "She played really well. I can't say that I was surprised by that. She really went for her shots. The ball bounced a lot higher, which suited her. It took me a little bit of time to find my range."
Tenth seed Wozniacki, meanwhile, dropped only two games in defeating Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0 6-2.
She said of the conditions: "It was a little warm out there today. I put a (drink) bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath. It was great that I managed to finish it off in two sets and it wasn't too long."
Wozniacki is playing in her first grand slam since becoming engaged to golfer Rory McIlroy but insists she is as hungry as ever to try to be a grand slam force once more.
The 23-year-old has not reached the quarter-finals at one of the sport's four biggest tournaments for two years.
She said: "I think I'm in a very good place in my life right now, on the court and off the court. I know what I want. I want to improve all the time. I want to be the best."
There was a scare for eighth seed Jelena Jankovic when she fell during her match against Japan's Misaki Doi and needed treatment to her ankle, but she recovered to win 6-1 6-2.
Eleventh seed Simona Halep, who won more titles than any other woman except Serena Williams last season, was an even more emphatic winner, the Romanian defeating qualifier Katarzyna Piter 6-0 6-1.
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Midfielder set to force through move to Louis van Gaal's Red Devils - reports
Manchester United transfer news: Mats Hummels, Daley Blind and Thomas Vermaelen on radar as Louis van Gaal reveals he still wants to sign defender
Arsenal fullback Carl Jenkinson joins West Ham on season-long loan
Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers plans more Anfield signings this summer
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho confirms Fernando Torres is staying at Stamford Bridge
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us