Aus Open: Osaka overcomes Osorio obstacle in Melbourne Park opener

Naomi Osaka beats Camilo Osorio in straight sets to move into the second round of the Australian Open.

Winning start: Naomi Osaka celebrates after her first-round match.   -  REUTERS

Defending champion Naomi Osaka overcame an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Colombian Camila Osorio to reach the second round of the Australian Open 6-3, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

The Japanese former World No. 1 looked all business as she raced to a 5-0 lead in the opening set but a first hold of serve invigorated Osorio, who then started chasing down everything Osaka threw at her. Osaka needed to save two break points to hold serve for the first set and faced two more in the second stanza before overpowering the inexperienced World No. 50 with her aggressive shots from the baseline.

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“It always feels special to come back here,” said the 13th seed, who will next face Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle as she seeks her third Melbourne Park title.

“I thought she played amazing. Overall I’m just happy to be here, I’m happy to see everybody in the audience and I hope we gave you a great performance.”

Wins for Bencic, Sakkari

Maria Sakkari withstood a late charge from Tatjana Maria to beat the German 6-4, 7-6 (2) on Rod Laver Arena.

"We all know that first rounds are not easy, credit to Tatjana, she played a really great match," said Sakkari. "I was a little bit stressed because I was, kind of, opening up the tournament on this wonderful court."

Olympic champion Belinda Bencic eased past France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-3 while 15th-seed Elina Svitolina beat Fiona Ferro 6-1 7-6(4).

Giorgi sweeps into second round

Camila Giorgi was the first player into the second round at the 2022 championships after completing a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Anastasia Potapova on court six.

The 30th seeded Italian clinched the victory when her Russian opponent double faulted for the fifth time in the match and will next face Czech Tereza Martincova or American Lauren Davis.

Keys beats Kenin

Madison Keys relied on her big serve on key points to beat 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 7-6 (2), 7-5 on John Cain Arena on Monday and reach the second round.

Former US Open runner-up Keys, who won her first trophy since 2019 at the Adelaide International 2 warm-up tournament last week, struggled to gain the upper hand in the contest before sealing the opening set in a tiebreak with her eighth ace. In a see-sawing second set, American Kenin conceded a decisive break to allow her opponent to go up 6-5 and, although she saved two match-points, was unable to prevent Keys closing out the victory on her serve.

Kenin has won her only Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park and has otherwise struggled to raise her game at majors, losing to Keys in straight sets in their last encounter at the US Open three years ago.

Barty hammers Tsurenko

World No. 1 Ash Barty launched her Australian Open campaign with a 6-0, 6-1 demolition of Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko on Monday.

The home hero has been in rollicking form this season, capturing the Adelaide International title in the leadup, and carried it into her twilight match against the hapless Tsurenko at Rod Laver Arena. Barty squandered two match points that would have handed Tsurenko the dreaded double-bagel and another two as she served for the match, but the Australian finally sealed it with a booming serve down the 'T'.

Barty will play Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti for a place in the third round.

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