The 8th seed and Sydney champion Petra Kvitova had no time to celebrate the title, hitting the court again on Monday in Melbourne to storm over Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and seven minutes after another excellent performance.
Petra hit 26 winners and 20 unforced errors, having the upper hand in the rallies and taming her shots nicely to leave Rybarikova with no chances what so ever. The Czech lost serve twice, staying in front with five breaks she grabbed from 10 opportunities to secure the place in round two.
They traded four breaks in the opening seven games and Petra settled into a nice rhythm after losing serve in game seven, earning another break in the next game before closing the set with a hold at love a few minutes later.
With the boost on her side, Petra dropped three points on serve in set number two, completing the triumph with a double break and taking a well-deserved day off on Tuesday. Ashleigh Barty stood on the losing side in that Sydney final but that only made her stronger, kicking off the Australian Open campaign with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Luksika Kumkhum in 57 minutes.
The home favorite had some problems on the second serve but that was nothing compared to the damage she performed on the return, winning more than half of the return points and converting six out of ten break points to march towards the finish line.
Kumkhum was off to a flying start, breaking Ashleigh in game two but fading from the court in the rest of the set, allowing Barty to break her three times and notch the opener 6-2. They stayed in touch until 2-2 in set number two and it was the young Aussie who took charge from that point, shifting into a higher gear to win five straight games and start the title chase.
The defending champion Caroline Wozniacki took down Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 33 minutes, delivering some adequate numbers on both serve and return to join the other favorites in round two. The Dane never lost serve, managing to secure one good return game in each set to avoid drama and control the scoreboard all the time, taming her shots nicely and finishing the match with more winners than unforced errors.
The Belgian suffered a break in the sixth game of the opening set and once again at 1-1 in set number two, unable to make any damage on the return to hit the exit door after the first match. The 9th seed Kiki Bertens defeated Alison Riske 6-3, 6-3 in 66 minutes, dominating in own service games and achieving three breaks to move into the last 64 with ease.
One of the youngest players in the draw, Amanda Anisimova, prevailed over Monica Niculescu 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 38 minutes, taking a tight opening set and creating the lead in the second one to notch her maiden Grand Slam win. First round results:
[Q]Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) vs Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-3 5-7 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs Monica Puig (PUR) 6-4 6-3
Amanda Anisimova (USA) vs Monica Niculescu (ROU) 7-6(3) 6-4
Timea Babos (HUN) vs Ons Jabeur (TUN) 7-6(5) 7-6(3)
Maria Sakkari (GRE) vs Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-1 3-6 6-2
Anett Kontaveit (EST) vs Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-3 6-2
Kiki Bertens (NED) vs Alison Riske (USA) 6-3 6-3
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) vs Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-4 7-6(1)
Yafan Wang (CHN) vs [WC]Ellen Perez (ESP) 6-4 6-0
Johanna Larsson (SWE) vs Vera Lapko (BLR) 7-6(5) 3-0 Ret.
Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-4 2-6 6-3
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) vs Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-7(3) 4-3 Ret.
Ashleigh Barty (AUS) vs Luksika Kumkhum (THA) 6-2 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-3 6-4
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) vs Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1 6-1
Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-3 6-2