On January 16, 2024, Iga Swiatek, the Polish world number one, emerged victorious in her match against former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. Swiatek triumphed with a score of 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, demonstrating her skill and determination. This victory is significant as Kenin was the player Swiatek defeated to win her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2020. Swiatek fought hard in the first set, coming back from being down a break twice in the 68-minute battle. In the second set, she found her rhythm and won the final five games to secure the win. With a 17-match winning streak, Swiatek is in excellent form and will face unseeded American Danielle Collins in the next round. Collins defeated former winner Angelique Kerber 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
In other matches, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens had a successful first-round victory against Australian wildcard Olivia Gadecki, winning 6-3, 6-1. Emma Navarro, the 27th seed from America, also secured a win over China’s Wang Xiyu. On the men’s side, 11th seed Casper Ruud won convincingly against Albert Ramos-Vinolas with a score of 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. British player Cameron Norrie, seeded 19th, had an easy win in straight sets against Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas. However, the main focus of the evening session in Melbourne is on Carlos Alcaraz, the Wimbledon champion who is competing with Novak Djokovic for the number one ranking. Alcaraz defeated Djokovic in a thrilling final at the All England Club last year, but Djokovic has since defeated Alcaraz twice, including at the ATP Finals in November. Alcaraz sees the challenge of facing Djokovic in Melbourne as an opportunity for extra motivation and a chance to test his level against one of the best players in the world. Alcaraz hopes to reach the final and play against Djokovic.
In the women’s competition, last year’s beaten finalist Elena Rybakina, fresh from her win at the Brisbane International, will face former world number one Karolina Pliskova. Rybakina shocked the tennis world when she won the 2021 US Open as a qualifier but has struggled to replicate that success in subsequent Grand Slams. However, she remains confident in her abilities and believes that consistent hard work will lead to better results.
Overall, the Australian Open has seen some intense matches and exciting players to watch as the tournament progresses.