Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova come back with wins at Australian Open

Comebacks were to the fore at the Australian Open on Tuesday.Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Stan Wawrinka an...

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 1:22 PM
Updated: Jan 16, 2018 1:22 PM

Comebacks were to the fore at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Stan Wawrinka and Petra Kvitova all returned to Melbourne Park and all but one reached the second round ahead of one of the city's summer heat waves. In a roller-coaster ride not unusual for a Kvitova match, the twice Wimbledon champion fell 6-3 4-6 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic.

Novak Djokovic wins first official match since Wimbledon

Djokovic also discusses players' union

Maria Sharapova wins in Australian Open return

Stan Wawrinka, Simona Halep reach second round, Petra Kvitova loses

Djokovic fared better. He is the undisputed King of Melbourne, with six of his 12 grand slam titles capped in glory at Rod Laver Arena.

Amid sunshine in hot but not overpowering conditions on the second day of the fortnight, the Serb cruised past American Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-4 -- on the secondary Margaret Court Arena -- in his first official match since being sidelined with an elbow injury at Wimbledon in July.

The Serb sported a grey sleeve on his serving arm and owns a new, abbreviated service motion, one that lessens the impact on his right elbow.

There is, noticeably, less take back and serve rotation, but Djokovic didn't seem bothered as he faced a mere two break points. His first serve speed, too, averaged around 114 miles per hour, higher than his figure when he won the US Open in 2011 and Madrid Masters in 2016, for example.

Djokovic said before the tournament that surgery wasn't out of the question if he experienced discomfort in the future but simply judging by Tuesday's performance, he looked sharp. Playing several matches, though, will provide a different test.

It was just a week ago that his participation in Melbourne looked in doubt after skipping an exhibition in Abu Dhabi and pulling out of Doha as the defending champion.

Different emotions

"I did have various emotions, mostly good ones," said Djokovic, whose ranking has dropped to 14th. "Excitement, joy, gratitude for being able to have an opportunity to compete. Not a while ago, about three weeks ago, I didn't know whether I'm going to play Australia or not.

"I was looking forward to get out on the court and compete. I did feel nerves and I did feel a bit skeptical whether I'm going to be able to continue playing well as I have the last couple weeks in the practice sessions.

"But I thought I controlled it well. I didn't get carried away by anything, even though I was a couple times in the match that things could have maybe gotten different way and different direction. I just didn't allow it to happen. Very, very solid performance."

Djokovic spent as much time in his post-match media conference discussing a players' meeting last week, one in which he reportedly said that the players should seek more prize money at grand slams and set up a separate players' union. Those are issues that have surfaced in the past in men's tennis.

READ: Americans struggle on Day One

READ: Murray targets Wimbledon return

According to the Daily Mail, Djokovic asked ATP officials who were present -- that is standard -- to leave the meeting and brought a lawyer with him. The newspaper also said boycotting next year's Australian Open was an idea that was mentioned.

Djokovic -- who encounters another player affected by injury, Gael Monfils, in round two -- refuted much of the claims.

"I saw that you've portrayed me as someone who is very greedy, asks for more money and wants to boycott," Djokovic told reporters.

"What happened is that we players just wanted to have us players talk about certain topics. I don't think there is anything unhealthy about that. We get together, 100 players get together two or three times in a whole year. This is one of the places where we get together.

"We wanted to use this opportunity to speak about certain subjects and see how everyone reacts to that, and I guess see what opinions are. There was no decisions being made. There was no talks about boycott or anything like that."

Sharapova beats Maria

You could have been forgiven for thinking that Sharapova was playing herself Tuesday, glancing at the TV scoreboard accompanying her match -- she was facing Germany's Tatjana Maria and won comfortably 6-1 6-4.

It was two years ago that Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open and ultimately served a 15-month ban. She is still searching for top form after being limited to eight tournaments when she returned to the circuit in 2017.

"I feel like I'm building," the five-time grand slam winner told reporters. "I feel like with every tournament and every week I have different feelings about different things. Some things are coming a little slower than I wanted. Some things I feel good about.

"Still feel like I'm building physically and getting the match play in. I'm motivated to, with every week, to keep taking in what I have learned from that week and using it to my advantage in the following tournament. As long as I have that in my mind, it's okay."

The unseeded Sharapova faces a tough challenge in the second round against 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who beat the Russian at the US Open prior to the tables being turned in another marathon in Beijing.

Wawrinka -- the 2014 champion in Melbourne -- sported a scar on his surgically repaired left knee as he, too, contested his first match since Wimbledon but battled past Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-2).

"I still have some pain," said the Swiss. "It depends the way I'm moving, how I push on it. In general, it's going the right direction. That's the best news."

The news wasn't as good for Kvitova, who missed last year's tournament after she was attacked in her home by a knife-wielding intruder and needed surgery on her left, playing hand. Her career was in jeopardy.

Kvitova loses heartbreaker

Kvitova appeared to be on course for victory Tuesday when she saved three match points at 4-5 in the third set. Unable to serve the contest out once, Kvitova got another chance at 8-7. But leading 15-0, Kvitova missed a short forehand into the net with Petkovic completely out of position and never recovered.

A former world No. 9, Petkovic could battle world No. 1 Simona Halep in the third round. Halep won in straight sets over 17-year-old Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 but it was far from smooth for the popular Romanian.

Halep trailed 5-2 in the opener -- having to save two set points -- then hyper-extended her left leg and rolled her left ankle in the same motion in the second set.

Halep next meets Eugenie Bouchard, with the Canadian ending a nine match losing streak by topping Oceane Dodin 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Although Bouchard has struggled since her breakout year of 2014, the former Wimbledon finalist defeated Sharapova in Madrid in a "grudge match" last year.

READ: Sharapova beaten by most vocal critic

Visit our tennis page for more Australian Open coverage

Men's defending champion Roger Federer, meanwhile, began his tournament by easing past Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-4 6-3.

The 19-time grand slam winner subsequently interviewed by comedian and actor Will Ferrell, a tennis fan.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Angola
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Dry start to the work week
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events