MELBOURNE, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Defending champion Roger Federer cruised to victory at the Australian Open on Tuesday and was joined in the second round by former champions Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.
Federer, bidding for his 20th grand slam title, beat Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-4 6-3 at Melbourne Park, Djokovic defeated Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-4 and Wawrinka battled to a 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6(2) win over Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.
In the women’s draw, world number one Simona Halep beat 17-year-old Destanee Aiava 7-6(5) 6-1 as top players including Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta registered opening victories.
Kristina Mladenovic and Petra Kvitova were the surprise early exits in the women’s singles while Canadian Milos Raonic, seeded 23rd, was the biggest upset loser on the men’s side.
Leading men’s contenders Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro, Tomas Berdych and David Goffin booked second-round spots.
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Novak Djokovic v Donald Young - match stats
My brother still makes fun of me, says Zverev
Halep survives date with Destanee to advance
Kerber consigns 2017 to the history books
Raonic slumps to early exit at Melbourne Park
Sharapova enjoys winning return to Melbourne
Djokovic dismisses talk of boycott over purses
Aggressive Konta makes light work of Brengle
Order of play on Wednesday
Highlights of Tuesday’s second day of the Australian Open, the first grand slam tournament of the year:
Australian 18th-seed Ashleigh Barty beat Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka 6-7(7) 6-4 6-4 in the first round but faces a tough test against Italian Camila Giorgi in the next stage.
Argentine Juan Martín del Potro, who last played at the Australian Open in 2014, battled to a 6-3 6-4 6-3 win over American Frances Tiafoe to set up a second-round clash with Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
Austrian fifth-seed Dominic Thiem brushed Argentina’s Guido Pella aside with a dominant 6-4 6-4 6-4 win and will face American qualifier Denis Kudla in the second round.
Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva earned a hard-fought 7-5 7-6(6) victory over Heather Watson, meaning Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund are the only British hopes left to claim the Melbourne Park title.
Czech 19th-seed Tomas Berdych ended Australian youngster Alex De Minaur’s strong start to the season with a 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-1 win over the 18-year-old.
Defending champion Roger Federer, chasing his 20th grand slam title, beat Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-4 6-3 to reach the second round. It was the 36-year-old’s 88th win in 101 matches at Melbourne Park.
Federer will next face Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who hit 45 winners, including 19 aces, past wildcard Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory in 77 minutes.
World number three Garbine Muguruza breezed into the second round with a 6-4 6-3 win over French wildcard Jessika Ponchet.
German Andrea Petkovic won the final three games to beat two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 6-3 4-6 10-8 in a thrilling first-round encounter, which lasted two hours and 52 minutes.
World number one Simona Halep overcame an ankle injury to move on to the next round after a 7-6(5) 6-1 victory over Australian teenager Destanee Aiava.
Halep praised Aiava, ranked 193 in the world, for her booming groundstrokes, which helped earn the 17-year-old wildcard two set points in the opener.
“She’s a little bit like Serena (Williams), she’s hitting the ball strong, she’s a powerful girl and for sure she will be good in the future.” Halep said.
Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic beat American Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-4 to reach the second round for a 12th consecutive year.
“A month ago I didn’t know if I was going to come to Australia or not because the elbow was still not prepared for this level of competition,” Djokovic, playing his first match since Wimbledon last year, said in an on-court interview.
Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka battled to a 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6(2) victory over Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in his first competitive match since July.
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard ended a six-match losing run on the tour by beating France’s Oceane Dodin 6-3 7-6(5).
Seventh seed David Goffin started his 2018 season with 55 winners to seal a 6-7(3) 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over German qualifier Matthias Bachinger.
Former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, flying from her title-winning run in Sydney, needed a little more than an hour to fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0 6-4.
“2017, I have said goodbye already, I am not looking back,” Kerber, who failed to claim a title last year, said after the match.
“I‘m feeling good and trying to continue how I have played in the last few weeks. I‘m just trying to enjoy it again on court.”
World number four Alexander Zverev opened with a 6-1 7-6(5) 7-5 first round victory over Italian Thomas Fabbiano.
American Sam Querrey, a quarter-finalist last year, began his campaign with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez.
Brisbane finalist Aliaksandra Sasnovich claimed a convincing 6-3 6-2 win over American Christina McHale.
Former world number one Maria Sharapova, the 2008 winner in Melbourne, progressed to the second round with a 6-1 6-4 victory over German Tatjana Maria.
Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, a semi-finalist in 2009, recorded 41 winners to upset 20th-seeded compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 7-5 7-5.
Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova kept her hopes of lifting a maiden grand slam titles alive with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Paraguayan Veronica Cepede Royg in the first round.
“The first one is always the toughest for me... Hopefully I take it match-by-match and I think I’ll have a good chance,” Pliskova, who reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne last year, said after the match.
Eighth seed Caroline Garcia overcame big-hitting German Carina Witthoeft 7-5 6-3.
Ninth seeded Briton Johanna Konta skipped past Madison Brengle into the second round, overpowering the American 6-3 6-1 in 66 minutes on Hisense Arena.
”I am very happy with that match,“ said the Australian-born 26-year-old. ”I knew it would be tough, she gets a lot of balls back and makes her opponents work for it.
Play got underway on schedule at 11 a.m. local time (0000 GMT) at Melbourne Park, where the temperature is around 21 degrees with very little chance of rain forecast. Read our preview of the day’s action here: (Compiled by Nick Mulvenney and Hardik Vyas; Editing by Ed Osmond)