Kei Nishikori survived a major scare in round one of the 2019 Australian Open while two-time champion Victoria Azarenka crashed out of the tournament in her opener on Tuesday.
23-year-old Polish player Kamil Majchrzak looked like he was on to something special as he romped through the first two sets of his opening round encounter at Melbourne against Nishikori, smashing winners and blunting his opponent’s attacking play as well.
The world number 176 looked like he had done enough to get past his Japanese opponent, having taken a 6-3, 7-6 lead in the match. Unfortunately for Majchrzak, his lack of experience at this level played a part in his demise.
Majchrzak, who was in his very first Grand Slam main draw match after having played in qualifiers all through 2018, struggled with cramps in the third set and failed to chase down balls from there on. The next two and a half sets, as a result, were a whirlwind for him, as he fell 6-0, 6-2, 3-0 before needing to retire from the encounter.
Nishikori will now take on Ivo Karlovic in his second round. Karlovic needed four tie-breakers to defeat Hubert Hurkacz 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 7-6(5) in their opening round clash.
Some of the other players to advance into the next round were Fabio Fognini, who made it through when Jaume Munar retired from their encounter because of injury, Borna Coric, who made the second round after beating Steven Darcis in straight sets and Marton Fucsovics, who overcame Albert Ramos-Vinolas in four sets.
In the women’s section of the draw, Azarenka’s campaign was ended early by Germany’s Laura Siegemund but what would hurt the Belarusian more is the manner of the defeat. She was leading by a set and a break in the second before capitulating to her opponent in three sets.
Azarenka was 7-6, 4-2 ahead and looked all set to enter the second round before Siegemund came back strongly to win four games in a row to wrap up the set. She completed the win in the final set.
The German will now take on No.28 seed Hsieh Su-wei in her second round encounter. Naomi Osaka, Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza were some of the other winners of their respective first round encounters.