Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, who missed last year’s Australian Open to take a “mental health break,” made a strong return to Melbourne Park on Sunday with a straight-set win over No. 25-ranked Marie Bouzkova of Czechia 6-2, 6-4.
Andreescu, who took one hour, 41 minutes to eliminate the 24-year-old Prague athlete, had 23 service winners and only committed eight unforced errors, compared to Bouzkova’s 17.
Andreescu had two aces and two double faults and was good on 87 per cent of her first serves. She had 12 forehand winners and three on her backhand.
She will play Cristina Bucsa of Moldova in the second round. Bucsa defeated Eva Lys of Ukraine 2-6, 6-0, 6-2 in the first round.
Meanwhile, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., battled for more than two hours to defeat Dusan Lajovic of Belgrade, Serbia, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the second round, where he’ll play the winner of a match between qualifier Ernest Escobedo of Los Angeles and Taro Daniel of New York.
Shapovalov cruised through the first set, then struggled in the second set and half of the third before finding his groove and finishing off the resilient Lajovic.
Shapovalov had 38 service winners, 16 aces and seven double faults in the two-hour, 20-minute match. He had 23 winners on his forehand, 11 on his backhand had 30 unforced errors compared to Lajovic’s 22.
Later in the day, 32-year-old Rebecca Marino of Vancouver lost to 28-year-old Zhu Lin of China in a battle of seasoned veterans by scores of 6-2, 6-4.
And sixth-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal bounced Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver 1-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-3.
Leylah Fernandez of Montreal will open her tournament with a match against Alize Cornet of France later today. And Katherine Sebov of Toronto is scheduled to make her Grand Slam singles debut against fourth-ranked Caroline Garcia of France, later today.