Australian Open 2021: First round results, match schedule and how to watch on TV

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Action is underway in Melbourne - GETTY IMAGES
Action is underway in Melbourne - GETTY IMAGES

After a three-week delay from its traditional start date, the Australian Open is finally underway, with the spotlight firmly on eight-time men's champion Novak Djokovic and home favourite Ashleigh Barty.

Tournament director Craig Tiley has had the unenviable task of working alongside public health experts to manage the arrival of over 1,200 players and officials into the country on 15 charter flights and, after a strict two-week period in quarantine, the athletes were finally able to play competitive matches in warm-up tournaments to kick-start their preparations for the event this week.

How are the big names getting on?

Serena Williams launched her latest bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam with a 56-minute demolition of Laura Siegemund.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka also made a convincing start with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. But former champion Angelique Kerber was the first seed to be knocked out.

World No1 Ashleigh Barty took just 44 minutes and did not drop a game as she ended a year-long wait for Grand Slam tennis with a stunning win over Danka Kovinic. Defending champion Sofia Kenin eventually beat Australian wildcard Maddison Inglis but former champion Victoria Azarenka is out.

In the men's draw, Novak Djokovic started the defence of his Australian Open title by dropping just six games in a dominant win over France's Jeremy Chardy. Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem, German sixth seed Alexander Zverev and Australia's Nick Kyrgios also won on the opening day.

On day two, world No2 Rafael Nadal began his bid for a men's record 21st Grand Slam title with a straight-set victory over Laslo Djere. Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev and compatriot Andrey Rublev also advanced as did fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Who are the Brits playing?

It was not a good start for the Brits as Katie Boulter fell to Daria Kasatkina in the first round 6-1 6-4 on the opening day. Twenty four hours later and British No1 Johanna Konta was forced to retire in the second set of her match against Slovenia's Kaja Juvan due to an abdominal injury.

Francesca Jones, on her Grand Slam main-draw debut, made a promising start against American Shelby Rogers before eventually losing 6-4, 6-1 to a player ranked almost 200 places higher. It left only Heather Watson as the sole female Briton in the main draw, the 28-year-old putting lack of preparation aside to beat Kristyna Pliskova and reach the second round.

In the men's draw, Cameron Norrie won the opening-round Battle of the Brits, beating 30th seed and British No1 Dan Evans 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the second round for the first time.

Justine Henin's guide to the Australian Open women's contenders
Justine Henin's guide to the Australian Open women's contenders

Who are this year's seeds?

Men's seeds

  1. Novak Djokovic

  2. Rafael Nadal

  3. Dominic Thiem

  4. Daniil Medvedev

  5. Stefanos Tsitsipas

  6. Alexander Zverev

  7. Andrey Rublev

  8. Diego Schwartzman

  9. Matteo Berrettini

  10. Gael Monfils

  11. Denis Shapovalov

  12. Roberto Bautista Agut

  13. David Goffin

  14. Milos Raonic

  15. Pablo Carreno Busta

  16. Fabio Fognini

Women's seeds

  1. Ashleigh Barty

  2. Simona Halep

  3. Naomi Osaka

  4. Sofia Kenin

  5. Elina Svitolina

  6. Karolina Pliskova

  7. Aryna Sabalenka

  8. Bianca Andreescu

  9. Petra Kvitova

  10. Serena Williams

  11. Belinda Bencic

  12. Victoria Azarenka

  13. Johanna Konta

  14. Garbine Muguruza

  15. Iga Swiatek

  16. Petra Martic

Australian Open match dates

  • February 8 – Men's and women's singles first round

  • February 9 – Men's and women's singles first round

  • February 10 – Men's and women's singles second round

  • February 11 – Men's and women's singles second round

  • February 12 – Men's and women's singles third round

  • February 13 – Men's and women's singles third round

  • February 14 – Men's and women's singles fourth round

  • February 15 – Men's and women's singles fourth round

  • February 16 – Men's and women's singles quarter-finals

  • February 17 – Men's and women's singles quarter-finals

  • February 18 – Women's semi-finals and first men's semi-final

  • February 19 – Second men's semi-final

  • February 20 – Women's final

  • February 21 – Men's final

Who is missing at the Australian Open?

Roger Federer is the most high-profile absentee from Melbourne Park as he continues his recovery from double knee surgery in 2020.

Former British No 1 Andy Murray also misses the event after testing positive for Covid-19 and not being able to reach an agreement with the organisers over quarantining.

American John Isner opted to skip the tournament because he didn't want to be away from his family for an extended period of time.

In the women's draw, Kiki Bertens is out with injury while Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova withdrew after a positive coronavirus test.

Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska tested positive for a banned substance and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. However, the world No 29 lost her battle and will now depart from Australia, having travelled in the hope of winning her case.

How to watch the Australian Open on TV

Eurosport has the rights to broadcast live action from Melbourne.

Coverage begins at midnight on February 8 which is the start of the first session of the tournament.

The BBC will also show a one-hour highlights package from the fourth round onwards

New innovations

The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam to have electronic shot callers, instead of line judges, on every match court for the duration of the event.

Remote tracking cameras around the courts will automatically send the audio line calls, voiced by Australian front-line workers and other emergency services personnel, in real-time.