Defending champions Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki eased through to the second round of the 2019 Australian Open on Monday with straight-sets wins over Denis Istomin and Alison Van Uytvanck, respectively.
The former won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in Melbourne, while the latter strolled to a 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Second seeds Rafael Nadal and Angelique Kerber also progressed, as the Spaniard beat local favourite James Duckworth, and the German dispatched Polona Hercog.
Andy Murray's Australian Open career looks to have come to an end with his defeat at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut, but the five-time Melbourne finalist did not go down without a fight as he took the match to five sets, having been two down.
Selected Monday Results
(2) Rafael Nadal bt. James Duckworth: 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
(3) Roger Federer bt. Denis Istomin: 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
(6) Marin Cilic bt. Bernard Tomic: 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3)
(5) Kevin Anderson bt. Adrian Mannarino: 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
(22) Roberto Bautista Agut bt. Andy Murray: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2
(30) Maria Sharapova bt. Harriet Dart: 6-0, 6-0
(2) Angelique Kerber bt. Polona Hercog: 6-2, 6-2
(3) Caroline Wozniacki bt. Alison Van Uytvanck: 6-3, 6-4
(5) Sloane Stephens bt. Taylor Townsend: 6-4, 6-2
(9) Kiki Bertens bt. Alison Riske: 6-3, 6-3
Full results can be found at the Australian Open's official website.
It's not often Federer isn't the main event when he steps on court at a Grand Slam, but an astonishing battle from Murray had all eyes on his match with Bautista Agut in the evening session.
Ahead of the tournament, the Scot had announced his intention to retire at Wimbledon this year—which he is not even sure he's capable of reaching—due to the pain he's suffering because of a long-term hip problem.
It looked as though he would exit the Australian Open without having made much of an impact when he found himself two sets down to Bautista Agut.
However, with the crowd behind him, he began to turn things around in the third:
Despite his limited movement—and Bautista Agut's attempts to capitalise on it in the longer rallies—he managed to conjure some remarkable resilience to not only take the match to a tiebreaker but to win that tiebreaker and another in the fourth set.
By the fifth, he had reached his limit and struggled to offer the same resistance, allowing Bautista Agut to breathe a sigh of relief.
In an emotional interview, Murray subsequently expressed his hope of continuing his career:
For those who did watch Federer, the 37-year-old continued to amaze as he comfortably dispatched Istomin with his usual flair:
The Swiss maestro did not even face a break point, as he recorded the 340th victory of his Grand Slam career.
Nadal was broken twice by Duckworth, but he grabbed six of his own to ensure his passage to the next round, where he'll face another Australian in Matthew Ebden.
In the women's draw, Wozniacki impressed with a clean performance against Van Uytvanck.
Despite what the scoreline might suggest, however, it was a hard-fought contest, per WTA Insider:
The defense is on.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 14, 2019
Caroline Wozniacki plays a strong opener to beat Alison Van Uytvanck 63 64. Scoreline is deceptive. That was a tight two.
21 winners to 16 UFE for Wozniacki, who won an astounding 78% 2nd serve points. Never broken.
Gets Johanna Larsson next. #AusOpen
The same could not be said for Kerber or Maria Sharapova, though.
The former, who won the first of her three major titles in Melbourne, extended her record against Hercog to 5-2 with two breaks of serve in each set.
As for the latter, despite making seven double-faults, she thoroughly outclassed Harriet Dart with back-to-back bagels. If not for those double-faults, Dart would have taken just nine points from Sharapova's serve in the entire match, such was the gulf in class on show.
The Russian will play Sweden's Rebecca Peterson in the next round. Should she win that, she'll likely set up a third-round clash with Wozniacki.