Novak Djokovic enjoyed a dream return as he hammered Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-4. Djokovic had not played a proper match since his quarter-final exit at Wimbledon last June after missing the second half of 2017 in a bid to recover from an elbow injury.
Now seeded 14th after slipping down the rankings, Djokovic sent a signal that he is ready to challenge for Grand Slam honours again after a nightmare 2017.
Top seed Simona Halep almost lost the first set to teenage wild card Destanee Aiava and then suffered a nasty injury before recovering to win 7-6(5) 6-1 in the first round of the Australian Open. Halep was 5-2 down in the first set to the 17-year-old Australian, who looked fearless as she took on the woman top of the WTA rankings. But Aiava, who had two set points, seemed to suffer from exhaustion and required treatment, with Halep fighting back to win a tie-break. The Romanian then went over on her ankle in seemingly disastrous fashion in the second set, but following treatment returned to court. She showed all her experience as Aiava faded badly – but the 17-year-old’s performance on Rod Laver Arena will not be forgotten.
Classy Konta cruises through
British number one Johanna Konta was in dominant form in the opening match on Hisense Arena, hitting 37 winners and eight aces to dispatch Madison Brengle 6-3 6-1. Ninth seed Konta's clinical performance raised hopes that she could be a genuine title contender in a wide-open women's draw at Melbourne Park.
Easy for Sharapova
Maria Sharapova cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-4 win over Tatjana Maria of Germany on Margaret Court Arena. The Russian was making her first appearance at the Australian Open since 2016 having served a ban for a doping violation and rattled off the first set in just over half an hour.
Wawrinka flirts with disaster
Highlights: Wawrinka earns triumphant return
Ninth seed Stan Wawrinka had a tough time of things against world number 136 Ricardas Berankis, eventually prevailing 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6(2). The Swiss looked in control when winning the first two sets but the game started to turn away from him when Berankis claimed the third and went ahead in the fourth. But Wawrinka held firm in a tie-break as he enjoyed a win in his first match since June.
No problems for Zverev
Men’s fourth seed Alexander Zverev enjoyed a straight-sets victory over Thomas Fabbiano 6-1 7-6(5) 7-5, to make the second round of the Australian Open. The 20-year-old German is quickly becoming one of the bigger draws on the ATP circuit and he underlined his credentials with a comfortable win.
Raonic falls to Lacko
Men's 22nd seed Milos Raonic continues his wait for a Grand Slam title after losing in the first round to Lukas Lacko of Slovakia, 6-7(5) 7-5 6-4 7-6(5).
Garcia gets past Witthoeft
Eighth seed Caroline Garcia eventually made it into the second round after stumbling in the second set against Carina Witthoeft before taking the match 7-5 6-3. The French star was 5-0 up in the second before losing three games in a row but recovered to claim her first win of 2018 to launch her Australian Open campaign.
No problems for Pliskova
Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova breezed into the second round of the 2018 Australian Open with a 6-3 6-4 win over Veronica Cepede Royg. The former world number one is viewed as a serious contender for her first ever Grand Slam title in Melbourne and did nothing to dispel that notion.
Kerber crushes compatriot
Angelique Kerber may only be the 21st seed but she won in Melbourne back in 2016 and showed her credentials this year with a 6-0 6-4 demolition of fellow Germany Anna-Lena Friedsam. She bagelled the first set in under 20 minutes.
Goffin drops a set
Men's seventh seed David Goffin threatened to be the victim of a huge giant-killing when he lost the first set to world number 182 Matthias Bachinger, but the Belgian recovered to win 6-7(3) 6-3 6-2 6-4.