MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Monday from the Australian Open at Melbourne Park (all times local):
Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari beat Tatjana Maria 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the first match completed on the main show court in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
She said the experience was “weird … in a good way.”
“I was a little bit stressed, opening the tournament on this wonderful court,” she said. “It’s a privilege to have my first match here.”
Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3, and 15th-seeded Elina Svitolina had a 6-1, 7-6 (4) win over Fiona Ferro in other early results.
Women’s defending champion Naomi Osaka was scheduled to play the second match on Rod Laver Arena, followed by Rafael Nadal.
Showing evidence of vaccination has been a requirement for all those entering Melbourne Park on Day 1 of the Australian Open, the morning after nine-time champion Novak Djokovic was deported for not meeting the country’s strict COVID-19 vaccination rules.
A security official with a loud speaker reminded people queuing outside the complex that hosts the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year to have their proof of vaccination ready for inspection and added, “oh, a ticket would be handy, too!”
The Australian Open begins under mostly cloudy skies with a threat of rain showers.
Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari is playing Tatjana Maria in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena. Women’s defending champion Naomi Osaka was scheduled to play the second match on the tournament’s main court, followed by Rafael Nadal. Women’s top seed Ash Barty had a night match.
Nadal is seeking a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title. He is tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer on 20. Djokovic was a late withdrawal because he’s not vaccinated and failed to have his visa cancellation overturned in a Federal Court hearing on Sunday. Federer is still recovering from a knee injury.
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