Australian Open: Defending women's champion Aryna Sabalenka starts with 6-0 6-1 win over Ella Seidel

Aryna Sabelenka thrashes Ella Seidel 6-0 6-1 in 53 minutes as she starts Australian Open title defence in style; No 2 seed next faces 16-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtová - we will bring you live scores, reports, analysis and features from Melbourne over the next fortnight

Image: Aryna Sabalenka hammered Ella Seidel 6-0 6-1 as she started her Australian Open title defence in style

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka breezed into the second round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets demolition of Ella Seidel in Melbourne.

Second seed Sabalenka, who beat Elena Rybakina a year ago to claim her maiden Grand Slam title, dismissed her teenage opponent 6-0 6-1 in 53 minutes during the night session.

The Belarusian became only the third defending women's champion in the Open Era to win her opening set 6-0 at the Australian Open, after Margaret Court in 1970 and Virginia Wade in 1973.

But she was denied a whitewash win as qualifier Seidel - the only German player in the women's draw - chalked up her first game at 5-0 down in the second set, having saved two match points, to delay Sabalenka's victory.

Sabelenka said in her on-court interview: "I am super happy to be back in Melbourne. I have unforgettable memories and it was great to feel the atmosphere.


"I still need to work for my dreams. It's amazing I was able to achieve so many goal in tennis and there is more to come. Hopefully I can stay here until the last day."

Sabalenka will next face Czech 16-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtová after the youngster came from a set down to beat Romania's Ana Bogdan 2-6 6-4 6-3.

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Image: Brenda Fruhvirtova made history at the Australian Open

Fruhvirtová is the youngest woman to win an Australian Open singles match since Coco Gauff in 2020.

Greek eighth seed Maria Sakkari, whose best result at a major last year was making the third round here, beat Nao Hibino of Japan 6-4 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.

Canada's Leylah Fernandez said she was hoping to relax and unwind with some crocheting after seeing off Czech Sara Bejlek 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to reach the second round.

"First I'm going to recover. Then afterwards, I'm probably going to watch a show called 'Reachers', it's a pretty good one. Maybe I'm going to crochet a little bit. I love crocheting," the 2021 US Open finalist said.

Fernandez won the Hong Kong Open and reached the semi-finals in Jiangxi as well as leading Canada to the Billy Jean Cup title for the first time.

Image: Leylah Fernandez is hoping that a focus on having fun will trigger a change of fortunes this year

Now ranked 36th in the world, Fernandez said she was trying not to over-analyse her recent resurgence in form.

"I'm just trying to enjoy the moment and not think about what I've done in the past or what I should be doing in the future," said Fernandez, who faces American Alycia Parks in round two on Wednesday. "I'm just going to try to enjoy the moment here with my team."

World No 93 Kamilla Rakhimova took the honour of being the first player into the second round at Melbourne Park after beating American Emina Bektas 6-4 6-4 in windy conditions on court six.

The 22-year-old Russian baseliner secured the win when the American went long with a service return.

Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko fought back to beat Italy's Lucia Bronzetti 3-6 7-5 6-3 and reach the second round for the sixth time in her career.

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