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Australian Open: Świątek wins tough first round match

Iga Świątek began her quest for glory in Melbourne with a tough encounter against Germany’s Jule Niemeier, whom she defeated 6:4,7:5.

The world number one is the favourite to win what would be her first Australian Open crown. Świątek is seeking to improve on last year’s performance, when she made it to the last four.

She will face Colombian Camila Osorio (WTA 82nd) in the second round.

Following her victory over Niemeier, Świątek has now won the first round in a grand slam tournament in 15 of her previous 16 appearances.

The first set was a very evenly matched affair. In the seventh game, the German had two opportunities to break the Pole’s serve, but Świątek held her nerve. With the score at 5:4, the world number one, on Niemeier’s serve, had two bites at the cherry before breaking the German and taking the opening set.

? that's right in the sweet spot for @iga_swiatek!

The world no. 1 rallied from a break down in the second set to move into the second round 6-4 [email protected] • @espn • @eurosport • @wowowtennis • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/3iliBq7Hrn

— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2023

To her credit the big-hitting-Niemeier appeared unphased at being a set down. The unseeded player broke Świątek’s serve and took the initiative, serving for the second set at 5:4.

However, the Polish player showed her famed determination and powerful forehand to win three evenly contested games on the bounce to take the set and match.

Hurkacz advances

Hubert Hurkacz has already equaled his best performance at the Australian Open following his first round victory. The Pole defeated the Spaniard, Pedro Martinez 7:6, 6:2, 6:2 and advanced to the second round. He will face the winner of the Lorenzo Sonego – Nuno Borges match.

Hurkacz’s most reliable element of his game is his strong service but it was at the net where he really excelled in this encounter. In the final game of the first set he had the crowd in raptures with a particularly stunning volley.

Can Hubi-lieve he made this volley [email protected] • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/3rsEFkvpVd

— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2023

Hurkacz is a less prolific performer on the hard courts, his greatest grand slam achievement to date was on the grass of Wimbledon, where he reached the semi-finals in 2021.

Iga Świątek is the current French and U.S. Open champion but she has never won the Australian grand slam, having come closest last year when she lost in the semi-final to Danielle Collins.

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