Ashleigh Barty and Rafael Nadal are through to the second round of the Australian Open after impressive performances on day two, but it was a bad day for the British number ones, as Johanna Konta and Dan Evans both exited.
World No 1 Barty, making her first Grand Slam appearance since the semi-finals of this event last year, took just 45 minutes to whitewash Montenegrin Danka Kovinic 6-0, 6-0, winning 50 of the 60 points in the match.
The 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal also came through his encounter unscathed, beating Serbian Laslo Djere in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.
In the battle of the Brits, Cameron Norrie stunned in-form British No 1 Evans 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to record his first-ever main draw victory in Melbourne.
Evans looked exhausted and clearly feeling the efforts of his ATP win in Melbourne on Sunday, but Norrie was excellent throughout.
And it was a day of disaster for the British number ones, as 2016 Australian Open semi-finalist Konta was forced to retire due to a hip injury despite taking the first set 6-4 against Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan.
Women’s fourth seed Sofia Kenin started her title defence in rather unconvincing fashion, labouring to a straight-sets victory over wildcard and World No 133 Madison Inglis in two close sets, 7-5, 6-4.
Fellow fourth seed Daniil Medvedev cruised past Canadian Vasek Pospisil, facing just one break point on his way to a crushing 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory, whilst Stefanos Tsitsipas was equally dominant against 36-year-old Gilles Simon, beating the Frenchman 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
World No 5 Elena Svitolina also booked her place in the second round against promising youngster Marie Bouzkova.
Despite facing a set point in the second set, the Ukrainian eventually prevailed 6-3, 7-6.
British hopes in the women’s draw now lie solely with Heather Watson who beat Kristyna Pliskova 7-6, 7-6, as Francesca Jones succumbed to Shelby Rogers 6-4, 6-1.
Konta and Evans were not the only seeds to be eliminated on day two, with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka losing to Jessica Pegula 7-5 6-4, whilst Kristina Mladenovic shocked 20th seed Maria Sakkari 6-2, 0-6, 6-3.
Similar upsets occurred in the men’s draw as Spanish No 2 Roberto Bautista Agut was ousted by Moldovan Radu Albot 6-7, 6-0, 6-4, 7-6, whilst 15th seed David Goffin lost in the first round for the first time since 2013 against Australian Alexie Popyrin.
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