Victoria Azarenka began her bid for a third consecutive Australian Open title with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson on Tuesday at Melbourne Park.
Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and No. 11 Simona Halep also raced to straight-set wins in their first-round matches today.
Azarenka had a tougher time on Rod Laver Arena looked clueless in the first set as Larsson ran her all over the court and put massive pressure on the world No 2.
Azarenka is bidding to become the first woman to win three successive titles in Melbourne since Martina Hingis (1997-99), stuff.co.nz reports.
She will face Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei or Czech Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova in the second round.
Meanwhile, Wozniacki raced to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Lourdes Dominguez Lino in her first round match.
Melbourne was braced for a predicted heat wave, with temperatures topping 37 Celsius as play got under way this morning.