Simona Halep continued her imperious form at the Australian Open as she secured a quarter-final spot at the expense of Elise Mertens.

Yet to drop a set at these finals, the fourth seed produced another commanding performance to book a meeting with Anett Kontaveit.

Garbine Muguruza felled another seed, Kiki Bertens beaten in just 69 minutes by the Spaniard, as she reached the last eight in Melbourne for only the second time.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also progressed after a tense battle with 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

 

KONTAVEIT WINS EPIC TO EARN HALEP SHOWDOWN

Beaten in their previous meeting in Doha last February, Halep had to work hard for a 6-4 6-4 victory over Mertens as she reached the quarter-finals in Australia for the fourth time.

After Mertens recovered from a 3-1 deficit to lead 4-3, Halep went on a six-game winning streak to take the opening set and move 3-0 up in the second.

Mertens rallied again to recover a double break, but Halep battled to move 5-4 ahead before serving out to love.

"Mentally, I think I did a great job today at four-all with those break points, game points," she said. "But in the end, I got the game and then I served very well the last game. I feel like I played a better match than all the matches since I'm here."

Halep now faces Kontaveit, who came through a punishing three-set clash against Polish teenager Iga Swiatek.

Kontaveit recovered to win 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 7-5 to become the first Estonian to reach the quarter-finals of a major.

MUGURUZA POWERS PAST BERTENS 

Muguruza claimed back-to-back wins over top-10 players by beating Bertens 6-3 6-3 to reach a grand slam quarter-final for the first time since the 2018 French Open.

The 26-year-old, who knocked out world number five Elina Svitolina in round three, has an eye on the big prize already after showing too much power for ninth-seed Bertens, hitting 19 winners and six aces. 

"It is very good to be back here," she said. "It is one of the grand slams that one day I would like to win. It's exciting." 

Next for Muguruza will be Pavlyuchenkova, who triumphed 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 over Kerber in two hours and 41 minutes. 

Having lost the first set after surrendering a double break, the Russian fought back to edge a tight second with a thumping return winner on her fifth set point.

The third set was more one-sided as Pavlyuchenkova moved 5-2 up and serving out the match with an ace.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova and fifth seed Elina Svitolina were high-profile casualties in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

Pliskova fell to a straight-sets defeat to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svitolina was soundly beaten by two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza.

Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic were also sent packing, losing to Anett Kontaveit and Iga Swiatek respectively.

There was no sign of a slip-up from former world number one Simona Halep, however, as she made serene progress to the next round by easing past Yulia Putintseva.

 

PLISKOVA, SVITOLINA CRASH OUT

After defending champion Naomi Osaka and 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams were eliminated on Friday, Pliskova joined the star duo in dropping out of the tournament.

Pliskova went down 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3) to 30th seed Pavlyuchenkova in the first match on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

"I think she was playing very well. Maybe the best she played against me so far in the last couple matches," Pliskova told reporters. "But let's say I was [at] about 40 per cent of my game, so of course then she can feel so much better if I just don't play enough [of] what I can play. 

"That's how it is. I think especially [in] the important moments she always served well so I had a couple chances here and there. But I think she just played better than me."

Svitolina did not fare much better as she lost to Muguruza in 67 minutes, the Spaniard - now ranked 32 in the world - hitting 31 winners to advance 6-1 6-2.

 

BENCIC, VEKIC SENT PACKING

It was another tough day for seeds as Bencic (6) and Vekic (19) failed to progress beyond the third round in Melbourne.

US Open semi-finalist Bencic was swept aside in just 49 minutes, humbled 6-0 6-1 by 28th seed Kontaveit on Margaret Court Arena.

"I think every grand slam there are seeded players losing, so I think this grand slam was even the best because no top-10 player lost in first round," she said in a news conference. "It's the same at every grand slam. There are upsets, and I think it's normal, because it's tennis, and tennis is very unpredictable."

Kontaveit will face Swiatek after the 18-year-old stunned Vekic 7-5 6-3.

 

HALEP, KERBER MOVE ON

Halep thwarted in-form Putintseva 6-1 6-4 to move through to the second week of the slam for a third consecutive year.

Fourth seed Halep - runner-up in Melbourne two years ago - needed one hour, 18 minutes to progress to the fourth round.

Away from Rod Laver Arena, 2016 champion Angelique Kerber ground out a 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi.

Kerber was pushed but the three-time major winner clinched a spot in the fourth round for the fifth successive season after two hours, eight minutes.

 

MERTENS AND BERTENS ADVANCE

Next up for Halep is 16th seed Elise Mertens, who required three sets to overcome CiCi Bellis.

Mertens was two points from victory in the second set after taking a 5-4 lead in the tiebreak but failed to close it out. However, she managed to keep her run alive by reeling off the next six games in succession.

The 2018 semi-finalist breezed through the final set to wrap up a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-0 victory in just under two hours.

Joining Mertens in the next round was Dutch ninth seed Kiki Bertens, who made the second week of the Australian Open for the first time.

Bertens claimed a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) victory over Zarina Diyas and has a meeting with Svitolina's conqueror Muguruza to look forward to.

Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber claimed comfortable second-round wins at the Australian Open as Garbine Muguruza survived a scare on Thursday.

It was a good day for the women's seeds at Melbourne Park, as 10 of the 12 in action moved into the third round.

Halep, Pliskova and Kerber were among them, while the unseeded Muguruza also progressed.

The top 10 seeds remain alive in the women's draw, with a few familiar faces shaping as contenders once more.

 

HALEP, PLISKOVA AND KERBER PROGRESS

A runner-up in Melbourne in 2018, fourth seed Halep was largely untroubled in a 6-2 6-4 win over British qualifier Harriet Dart.

The Romanian managed five breaks of serve and will meet Yulia Putintseva, who edged last year's semi-finalist Danielle Collins, scoring a 6-4 2-6 7-5 win against the 26th seed.

Pliskova has reached at least the quarter-finals at the past three Australian Opens and the Czech second seed looks like a challenger.

She had few problems in a 6-3 6-3 victory over Laura Siegemund on Rod Laver Arena.

Pliskova will next face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after the Russian 30th seed battled past Taylor Townsend 7-5 7-6 (7-1).

Kerber, the 2016 champion, was untroubled by Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon in a 6-3 6-2 win.

MUGURUZA FIGHTS THROUGH

Two-time grand slam champion Muguruza was pushed in a 6-3 3-6 6-3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic.

Muguruza mixed 34 winners with 39 unforced errors, but an even bigger test awaits in the third round.

FIfth seed Elina Svitolina set up a meeting with Muguruza by overcoming American Lauren Davis 6-2 7-6 (8-6).

That late-night clash on Margaret Court Arena became dramatic in the second set as Svitolina failed to seize a chance to serve for the match, Davis forcing the tense tie-break.

 

BENCIC, VEKIC CONTINUE RUNS

Coming off a semi-final appearance at the US Open last year, Belinda Bencic overcame former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 7-5 7-5.

The Swiss star will meet Anett Kontaveit, who recorded a 6-2 4-6 6-1 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Donna Vekic, the 19th seed, has cruised through her opening two matches after brushing past Alize Cornet 6-4 6-2.

Meanwhile, Dutch ninth seed Kiki Bertens was too good for Australian wildcard Arina Rodionova 6-3 7-5.

Karolina Muchova, the 20th-seeded Czech, was well beaten by CiCi Bellis 6-4 6-4.

Twenty-year-old American Bellis is playing her first grand slam in two years after injury kept her out of action for 18 months.

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova came through their first-round matches at the Australian Open, as Maria Sharapova suffered an early exit in the women's singles.

Fourth seed Halep was handed a testing opener against Jennifer Brady, who had beaten Ash Barty at the Brisbane International this month.

But the Romanian prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 in one hour and 36 minutes to join home hope Barty, defending champion Naomi Osaka and tournament favourite Serena Williams in round two.

An up-and-down first set was crucial, as Halep twice recovered from a break down and saved three set points while Brady was serving at 6-5.

Halep found a way to force a tie-break and then edged it 7-5 before running away with the contest in the second set.

Wimbledon champion Halep also had to overcome a first-set fall that required the trainer to check on her wrist and joked she had also stumbled in her first match of the 2018 tournament, when she made it all the way to the final.

"In 2018 it was the same, probably I can repeat that!" said Halep.

"I don't know why in the first round always I fall down. Maybe it's a good sign but it's too far to think about that.

"My wrist is pretty painful. I need to chill and recover for the second round."

Second seed Pliskova earned a 6-1 7-5 victory over Kristina Mladenovic, losing serve just once in the 87-minute battle. The Czech faces Laura Siegemund next, while Halep will take on Harriet Dart.


TOP 10 ALL THROUGH AS SHARAPOVA'S WOES CONTINUE

Sharapova suffered her third consecutive loss in the first round of a grand slam following a 6-3 6-4 defeat against 19th seed Donna Vekic as the former world number one hit 31 unforced errors.

A first-round casualty at Wimbledon and the US Open, Sharapova - who has been struggling for form and fitness - crashed out in the first round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2010.

Sixth seed Belinda Bencic won 6-3 7-5 against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, while Madison Keys was a 6-3 6-1 victor against Daria Kasatkina, as all of the top 10 seeds moved safely into round two.

Elina Svitolina claimed a 6-4 7-5 victory in her match against Katie Boulter, while former grand slam champions Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza were winners against Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Shelby Rogers respectively. Muguruza won by an unusual 0-6 6-1 6-0 scoreline.


KONTA AND VONDROUSOVA BOW OUT

Johanna Konta, Marketa Vondrousova, Amanda Anisimova and Anastasija Sevastova were the seeds to fall on day two.

An Australian Open semi-finalist in 2016, British 12th seed Konta suffered a 6-4 6-2 loss to Ons Jabeur.

On the comeback trail following a tendinitis-related problem in her right knee, which forced her to withdraw from Brisbane and Adelaide, Konta was only making her second appearance since losing in the US Open quarter-finals last year.

Konta said: "Ultimately the main thing was to start playing again, and I am. How I physically felt out there is obviously a massive tick for me compared to where I was in September. Before Brisbane I had been out for almost four-and-a-half months."

Czech Vondrousova, the 15th seed and French Open finalist last year, lost in three sets to Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Another rising star fell as 18-year-old American Anisimova lost out in a final set to Zarina Diyas, while home hope Ajla Tomljanovic emphatically accounted for Sevastova with a 6-1 6-1 triumph to book a round-two meeting with Muguruza.

Angelique Kerber is hopeful over her fitness for the Australian Open as she deals with a hamstring injury.

Kerber retired during her second-round match against Dayana Yastremska at the Adelaide International on Wednesday.

The 2016 Australian Open champion, who will face a qualifier in the first round, said she was hopeful ahead of the tournament starting on Monday.

"I'm trusting my team and I mean of course it was not the way I would like to play in Adelaide and finish the tournament before Melbourne," Kerber told a news conference on Friday.

"But I know right now what it is, I'm also in touch with my medical team in Germany and here with my team so I'm hopeful and I'm thinking that it will be fine when I start the tournament."

Kerber revealed she dealt with a similar left-hamstring injury late last year and knows how to cope with the issue.

"I had it before at the end of last year so I know a little bit what it is and we know what we have to do and how to treat that," she said.

"That's actually a good sign that everybody knows how to take care of it."

Home hope Ajla Tomljanovic overcame a self-confessed lack of focus to beat Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 and secure a second-round clash with Adelaide International second seed Simona Halep.

Tomljanovic fell 3-0 behind before battling back to take the first set to a tie-break, where she held her nerve before rounding out the win in more convincing fashion in the second.

"Not the greatest start," said Tomljanovic. "I don't even think it was nerves. I wasn't too focused at the start.

"With her, you have to be really sharp, disciplined, but still aggressive. It took me a little bit to find the balance.

"But I think once I got going, it was a battle. I mean, she's always tough. She never gives up. She runs down every ball, really makes you win it. This is a quality win for me."

Another Australian in the draw is top seed Ashleigh Barty, who got a first-round bye and will now face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova following the Russian's 6-2 6-4 win over Anett Kontaveit.

Fourth seed Belinda Bencic beat Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-4, while Sofia Kenin defeated Viktorija Golubic 6-0 6-4.

Other first-round results saw former world number one Angelique Kerber down Wang Qiang 6-1 6-3, Dayana Yastremska beat Timea Babos 7-5 6-3, and American Danielle Rose Collins dump out Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 6-2.

At the Hobart International, seventh seed Rebecca Peterson retired hurt against Fiona Ferro, but fellow seeds Magda Linette and Veronika Kudermetova progressed without cause for concern.

Angelique Kerber will work with Dieter Kindlmann in the next WTA season after announcing her fellow German as her new coach.

The three-time grand slam champion parted ways with coach Rainer Schuttler in July after just eight months.

Kerber, now ranked 20th in the world, confirmed the arrival of Kindlmann in a tweet on Thursday.

"As much as I've enjoyed my time off, I'm excited to get back into training," wrote the former world number one.

"Happy to announce that Didi Kindlmann will be joining my team as the new coach! Work starts here, and I'm thankful for the people in my team that share the same vision moving forward!"

The move comes after she failed to win a title in 2019.

Kindlmann has previously worked with Madison Keys, Elise Mertens and, most recently, Ajla Tomljanovic.

Kerber's most recent grand slam triumph came at Wimbledon in 2018, but she did not make it past the fourth round at any of the four majors this year. 

Teenager Coco Gauff has been promoted to the Luxembourg Open main draw after Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova pulled out with injuries.

Kerber is suffering with a leg injury while Sharapova has a shoulder problem, depriving next week's WTA event of two of its biggest names.

But the news means Gauff enters the competition proper, without needing to qualify, along with regular doubles partner Caty McNally.

Gauff, just 15, burst onto the scene at Wimbledon as she reached the fourth round, before impressing again at the US Open, her home grand slam, by winning two matches.

In her first appearance since Flushing Meadows, playing as a lucky loser, Gauff has reached the quarter-finals of Linz Open and will break into the world's top 100 next week.

She plays top seed Kiki Bertens on Friday for a place in the last four.

World number one Ashleigh Barty eased into the third round of the China Open with a straight-sets win over Yulia Putintseva.

Barty completed a 6-4 6-2 triumph in an hour and 15 minutes, but was not overly enamoured with a performance featuring 23 winners and seven aces.

"It was solid without being fantastic," the Australian said afterwards. "It was what we needed to do. 

"There were times where it was pretty good and there were times where it was challenging. Pretty happy with how we were able to get on a roll in the second set a little bit there."

Barty came from a set down to defeat Putintseva in Madrid this year but there were no such heroics required of the French Open champion this time around.

Next up, she faces Saisai Zheng, who thrilled the home crowd and stunned 13th seed Sloane Stephens with a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Osaka and Wozniacki dish out punishment

Naomi Osaka continued her dominant recent form as she dispatched Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-0 inside an hour.

Fresh from victory on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open, Japan's reigning Australian Open champion hit 21 winners to 11 unforced errors en route to a sixth successive win and claimed a phenomenal 91 per cent of points on her first serve.

Defending Caroline Wozniacki was in a similarly uncompromising mood as she saw off Christina McHale 6-4 6-0.

Wozniacki flew out of the blocks, winning five of the first seven games, only for McHale to check her progress by converting a fourth break point of the opener.

The former world number one responded emphatically, however, and McHale did not win another game.

More Kvitova misery for Mladenovic, Kenin and Riske fly the flag for the US

Petra Kvitova will face fellow seed and Venus Williams' conqueror Belinda Bencic after continuing her relentless record against Kristina Mladenovic.

Kvitova prevailed 6-4 6-4, taking her overall record against Mladenovic to 9-1, including three straight-sets victories this year.

"Against Kiki, I always have to play well because she can really play well, and she showed it in this match," Kvitova said. "I'm glad that I served pretty well and that it was a big weapon." 

Despite the punishing losses for McHale and Stephens, 15th seed Sofia Kenin and Alison Riske claimed some success for the United States contingent.

Riske was forced into a decider by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic and came through 6-3 3-6 6-4.

Despite dropping serve with victory in sight at 5-3 in the third, Riske eventually saw off Tomljanovic in the next game – converting an eighth match point.

Kenin dropped her first two service games but regrouped to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-2 and faces third seed Elina Svitolina in round three.

Two seeds going no further are Angelique Kerber and last week's Wuhan winner Aryna Sabalenka, who went down in straight sets to Polona Hercog and Daria Kasatkina respectively.

Angelique Kerber was the only player to book her place in the Pan Pacific Open semi-finals on Friday as rain washed out three other matches.

Kerber was in action against Madison Keys and advanced courtesy of the American's retirement in Osaka.

Keys had pegged the German back by winning the second set but then succumbed to injury having been broken at the start of the third, down 6-4 4-6 2-1 when she called time.

Kerber said: "It was a really good match in the first two sets and this is never the way that you want to win the match.

"I hope Madison will recover really soon so she is ready for the next tournaments.

"I tried to give everything I could today and I'm looking forward to playing the next round."

However, the three-time grand slam champion was still waiting to learn the identity of her last-four opponent after the weather intervened.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova broke for a 2-0 lead over Misaki Doi in the opener before the rain started to fall, suspending the match for several hours before it was put back to Saturday.

Hometown hero Naomi Osaka, the former world number one, did not get on the court at all against Yulia Putintseva. Elise Mertens was also made to wait to take on Camila Giorgi.

Naomi Osaka thrilled her hometown fans with a straight-sets win over Viktoriya Tomova at the Pan Pacific Open.

The world number four was forced to come from a double break down in the opening set against Bulgarian qualifier Tomova on Wednesday.

But Osaka, operating without the left knee brace she wore throughout the US Open, began to work through her repertoire and hit 40 winners, including 13 aces, to close out a 7-5 6-3 triumph.

"I know in the first set, I just started slow, and then in the second set, I just made a lot of really bad decisions in the first game," top seed Osaka told reporters afterwards.

"Other than that, I knew that I was the power player, and that I was the one that was kind of dictating how the match would go.

"It gave me a little bit of comfort knowing that if I just dialled down my unforced errors, I was going to win."

Osaka could face Yulia Putintseva in the quarter-finals, her Wimbledon conqueror who has won all three of the previous meetings between the pair.

First, though, Putintseva must get past Varvara Flink on Thursday.

Fellow seeds Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys and Elise Mertens all joined Osaka in the last eight.

Kerber claimed her first victory since Wimbledon by beating American qualifier Nicole Gibbs 6-2 6-4.

The three-time grand slam winner found herself a double break down in the second set but reeled off five consecutive games from 4-1 down to break a five-match losing streak.

"It's nice to have a win again," Kerber said. "The goal now is to finish the year as well as I can, to put all the energy which I have into this run in Asia and to play well in the next few weeks."

Keys is up next for Kerber after the American came from a set down to beat qualifier Zarina Diyas 5-7 6-0 6-4.

Belgium's Mertens was also forced into three sets by Hsieh Su-wei, eventually prevailing 6-3 1-6 6-2.

Alison Riske inflicted another first-round defeat on Angelique Kerber as the former world number one crashed out of the Zhengzhou Open in China.

American Riske, who was a surprise quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in July, came from behind to beat Germany's three-time grand slam winner 5-7 6-4 7-6 (8-6) on Tuesday.

It means Kerber has lost her opening match at four successive tournaments, last enjoying a victory in the first round of Wimbledon.

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Riske in the second round of the US Open two weeks ago before falling in round three, recovered from a mid-match slump to beat China's You Xiaodi in the first round in Zhengzhou.

Latvian Ostapenko, who has nosedived from 22nd to as low as 83rd in the WTA singles rankings this year – she is currently at 75 - was a 6-3 0-6 6-2 winner against qualifier You.

France's Kristina Mladenovic beat Kerber in the first round of the US Open, before falling in round two. Mladenovic began her campaign in Zhengzhou with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win against Duan Ying-Ying.

Fiona Ferro, who beat Mladenovic in New York, started out at the Chinese event with a 6-2 6-3 success against Yang Zhaoxuan, while Alize Cornet and Ajla Tomljanovic also made it safely through to round two.

Serena Williams' quest for a 24th grand slam title continues after she succumbed to an inspired performance by teenage sensation Bianca Andreescu in the US Open final.

The 19-year-old Canadian capped an extraordinary rise in 2019 by clinching the final slam of the season at Flushing Meadows with a 6-3 7-5 victory, maintaining her incredible run of having never lost to a top-10 player.

While it was Andreescu this time around, it was Naomi Osaka who beat Williams at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2018, with the 37-year-old having been stuck on 23 victories – one shy of Margaret Court's record – since January 2017.

For a spell in a dramatic second set, it looked as though Williams had the upper hand, but Andreescu held firm to condemn her opponent to a fourth successive grand slam final defeat.

KERBER PROVES TOO MUCH AT WIMBLEDON

Williams was around eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open against her sister Venus in January 2017 and, after pulling out of the Indian Wells and Miami Opens, the then world number one confirmed she was expecting her first child.

She returned to tennis in 2018, making her grand slam comeback at Roland Garros. However, it was at Wimbledon that Williams got back into her grand slam stride, until she met Angelique Kerber, who was in no mood to give up on a chance to clinch a maiden Wimbledon crown and won 6-3 6-3. 

"To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried," said an emotional Williams, just 10 months after giving birth.  

CONTROVERSY OVERSHADOWS OSAKA'S TRIUMPH

Osaka's sensational triumph should have been the main story from the 2018 US Open final, but unfortunately Williams stole the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Williams' tournament ended in controversy, as she received a game penalty in the second set after she had reacted badly to a code violation issued by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

She demanded an apology from Ramos, who Williams accused of being a "liar" and a "thief" after she received a further two violations for smashing her racket and abusing the umpire.

HALEP SHOWS NO MERCY

After a quarter-final defeat in Melbourne and a round-of-32 exit in Paris, Williams returned to grand slam contention as she charged to the final at Wimbledon earlier this year.   But former world number one Simona Halep put in one of the best – if not the best – performances of her career to brush her opponent aside 6-2 6-2, taking just 56 minutes to do so.   "I don't think it's a surprise for anyone to play great against me," Williams said. "When someone plays lights out, there's really not much you can do. You just have to understand that that was their day today."

NO FAIRYTALE IN NEW YORK

A chance at Flushing Meadows redemption came in Saturday's final. Osaka had been reduced to tears at the end of the 2018 final, in part it seemed due to the partisan crowd in Williams' favour that day, with the youngster apologising for beating the fan favourite.

However, despite equally vociferous support at Arthur Ashe, Williams could not muster enough to beat the exceptional Andreescu.

A stunning recovery seemed on when Williams fought back from 5-1 down to draw level in the second set, but Andreescu – who was not born when Williams won the 1999 title – regained her composure to seal a memorable victory on her major final debut.

Williams sisters Serena and Venus barely raised a sweat on day one of the US Open, while Ashleigh Barty dug deep to advance in New York.

Serena and Venus Williams lost three games between them as the American pair cruised through to the second round at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Former world number one and French Open champion Barty survived a big scare, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys eased into the next round but Angelique Kerber crashed out.

 

SERENA EXTENDS SHARAPOVA DOMINANCE

It was a ruthless performance from 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who demolished Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-1.

Serena – who was at the centre of an infamous meltdown during last year's US Open final – made it 19 straight victories over five-time major winner Sharapova.

Fellow American Caty McNally is up next for Serena after easing past Timea Bacsinszky 6-4 6-1.

Two-time champion Venus Williams, meanwhile, routed Zheng Saisai 6-1 6-0 to extend her first-round record at the tournament to 21-0.

"I was happy with today, so I'm not going to ask for more," said Venus, who faces Elina Svitolina after the fifth seed defeated Whitney Osuigwe 6-1 7-5.

As for 10th seed Keys, she kicked off her campaign with a 7-5 6-0 victory over Misaki Doi after 63 minutes.

 

A MUCH-NEEDED AUSTRALIAN WIN

Australian sport was reeling on Sunday when Ben Stokes and the England cricket team produced a stunning fightback in the third Ashes Test.

And it briefly appeared fans Down Under were set for further pain when Aussie star Barty remarkably fell 5-0 behind to Zarina Diyas in the first set played at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the tournament.

But Barty – a former cricketer – rallied 1-6 6-3 6-2 to provide a much-needed boost, having herself taken in Australia's Headingley aberration.

"[England's performance] was pretty good. Credit where credit's due," she said. "Stokesy was incredible.

"I think we missed some opportunities and my whole team were glued to it. I have an English trainer, as well. He's had a fantastic 24 hours of feeding it to us and not letting us forget that result."

 

ADDED NERVES AMONG CZECH MATES

Karolina Pliskova came through two tie-breaks in an all-Czech clash packed with breaks to beat Tereza Martincova – and the third seed cheekily blamed her opponent's nationality for her nervy display.

"It was not perfect, but I'm through, so that's important," she said. "The first rounds they are always a little bit nervous, I would say, for most of the players.

"It doesn't help that you play somebody from your country, because then it adds some extra nerves, which maybe would not be there if she's from China or something."

Unable to respond as Pliskova did, Kerber was a big opening-day casualty, losing 7-5 0-6 6-4 to Kristina Mladenovic.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta, who reached the last four at Roland Garros and the last eight at Wimbledon, was made to work for three sets by Daria Kasatkina, having appeared set for swift and stylish progress after taking the opener before prevailing 6-1 4-6 6-2.

Anastasija Sevastova consigned Eugenie Bouchard to a miserable 12th straight singles defeat, a run stretching back to February.

Former world number one Maria Sharapova lost a three-set epic against Anett Kontaveit in the first round of the WTA Rogers Cup.

Sharapova – a five-time grand slam champion – was eliminated following a two hour, 41-minute thriller in Toronto on Monday.

Former Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki moved through to the second round, while Serena Williams will open her campaign against Elise Mertens.

 

SHARAPOVA STUNNED IN TORONTO

The 2009 runner-up saw victory slip through her grasp, beaten 4-6 6-3 6-4 by Kontaveit.

Sharapova was up a set a break before 16th seed Kontaveit prevailed in a tense three-setter, which lasted almost three hours.

Playing for the first time since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon, Sharapova – seeking just her fourth victory since January due to injury problems – was unable to stop the Estonian.

"I put a lot of work in to get to this stage, so I think to finish off this match is good," Sharapova said. "Definitely not the result I would have liked, but overall feeling pretty good about it."

It will not get any easier for Kontaveit, who is set to play the winner of Venus Williams and Carla Suarez Navarro.

 

WOZNIACKI MAKES WINNING START

Former champion Wozniacki accounted for Yulia Putintseva 6-4 6-2 on day one.

The 2010 winner in Montreal, Wozniacki trailed 4-2 after dropping serve in the opening game before reeling off four straight games to take out the set.

Wozniacki then won four games in a row from 2-2 in the second set as the 15th seed awaits either Iga Swiatek or Ajla Tomljanovic in the next round.

"I'm just happy with the win today and that I'm through to the next round," said Wozniacki, who was also runner-up in 2017.

 

MERTENS SETS UP SERENA SHOWDOWN

Williams awaits in the second round after Belgian Mertens outlasted Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Former world number one and eighth seed Williams is a three-time winner of the event, having last triumphed in 2013.

Sofia Kenin set up a clash with world number one and top seed Ashleigh Barty with a 6-4 6-3 win over Hsieh Su-wei, while defending champion Simona Halep is next up for Jennifer Brady – who saw off Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 6-2.

Former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko triumphed but three-time major champion Angelique Kerber – the 12th seed – was shocked by Daria Kasatkina 0-6 6-2 6-4.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.