Fast-rising Czech star Karolina Pliskova played down her Australian Open chances on Tuesday despite kick-starting her campaign with an ominous straight-sets rout. Ranked at a career-high five in the world, the tall and tattooed 24-year-old proved too hot to handle for Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in blistering heat on Rod Laver Arena. Pliskova, a US Open finalist last year, said ahead of the opening Grand Slam of the year that the Melbourne Park surface suited her game and it was the tournament that offered her the best chance for a maiden Grand Slam title.
By Nick Mulvenney MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roger Federer made a winning return to competitive tennis after six months out of the game on Monday, thrilling a packed Rod Laver Arena as he beat qualifier Juergen Melzer 7-5 3-6 6-2 6-2 to reach the Australian Open second round. There were, though, plenty of reminders of the brilliant shot-making that have helped Federer to 17 grand slam titles and his 46 to 26 advantage over Melzer in the winner count told the tale of what was ultimately a comfortable win. The crowd cheered every one to the rafters and, while that pleased Federer, he was clearly just delighted to be back doing what he does best.
By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Monica Puig would never trade her surprise singles gold at the Rio Games for any grand slam success but Puerto Rico's first Olympic champion felt compelled to lock the medal away amid the lean period that followed her greatest tennis triumph. Puig, who had upset an honour roll of grand slam champions at Rio, was humbled in straight sets by 61st-ranked Chinese Zheng Saisai. After Rio, she lost in the first round of four of her next six tournaments, including her opening two in Brisbane and Sydney in 2017, so it was a hugely relieved Puig who reached the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.