MELBOURNE: Iga Swiatek took time to get going but found her way past Jule Niemeier, beating the German 6-4 7-5 in the opening round of the Australian Open on Monday for a slightly unconvincing start as the firm favourite for the year’s first Grand Slam title.

In a rematch of their U.S. Open fourth-round meeting where Swiatek battled from a set and break down to prevail, the Pole revved up her backhand to save two breakpoints before a nervy hold as Niemeier gave her little room to work the angles.

But the top seed targeted world number 68 Niemeier’s serve to grab the decisive break and with it the opening set, before surrendering serve early in the next only to hit back from 0-2 down to level at 5-5 and seal the victory.

Top seed Swiatek inspired by Barty for ‘intense’ Australian Open

Swiatek, backed to stamp her authority on the women’s game by winning the title vacated by the retired Ash Barty, continues her quest for a fourth major trophy when she meets Colombia’s Camila Osorio in the second round.


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