After a delayed start due to the need to sort out suitable quarantine arrangements for around 1,000 tennis players and support, the Australian summer of tennis finally kicked off at Melbourne Park on Sunday.
Plenty of Australians were given a shot at glory on the opening day as numerous wildcard recipients took to the court, but at the end of the day it was only Daria Gavrilova that could get a win.
The former world no. 20 is making a comeback from injury and has a UTR title under her belt.
Gavrilova played a great match to defeat world No.98 Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2, 6-0.
“I played really well. I was pretty happy with my serve,” Gavrilova said after recording victory in 65 minutes.
“I never used to get free points off my serve and today I did. I felt like my second serve was really good, I was able to mix it up well.”
The win setup a tough second round match against fifth seed Serena Williams.
Things did not go so well for the other Australians on the opening day.
Players were split across two tournaments, the Yarra Valley Classic and the Gippsland Trophy, both are WTA 500 level tournaments.
In the Yarra Valley Classic, wildcards Maddison Inglis, Lizette Cabrera and Kimberly Birrill all lost.
(WC) Maddison Inglis Rd 1 lost to Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-2, 6-1
(WC) Lizette Cabrera Rd 1 lost to Varvara Gracheva (RUS) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
(WC) Kimberly Birrell Rd 1 lost to Mona Barthel (GER) 7-5, 6-3.
Sam Stosur was also humbled losing 6,2, 6-0 to (16) Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic.
In the Gippsland Trophy again all of the wildcards lost.
(WC) Astra Sharma Rd 1 lost to Kaia Kanepi (EST) 1-6, 7-5, 6-2
(WC) Arina Rodionova Rd 1 lost to (12) Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-3, 6-4
(WC) Olivia Gadecki Rd 1 lost to Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-3
Sharma was closest to winning as she won the first set convincingly against Kanepi and was up a break in the second before not being able to close out the set.
Sharma was serving at 59.3% in the opening set and won 75% of 1st serve points and 63.5% of 2nd serve points.
In the second set you could see Kanepi finally start timing the ball more sweetly and the increased power was what overcame Sharma.