MELBOURNE, Australia Olympic gold medalist and Miami resident Monica Puig didn’t waste any time on the opening day of the Australian Open.
The Puerto Rican player, seeded 29th, was the first player to win a match at Melbourne Park this year, defeating Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig 6-0, 6-1 in 53 minutes on Monday.
Puig was close to shutting Tig out completely, known in tennis as a “double bagel,” but made several unforced errors to give the Romanian her first game at 6-0, 5-1. The match was over several minutes later.
Puig stunned the field at last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics to become Puerto Rico’s first-ever gold-medal winner, beating Angelique Kerber in the final at Rio.
Meanwhile, Simona Halep was the first seeded women’s player to lose in Melbourne — in the first match at Rod Laver Arena.
American Shelby Rogers defeated the Romanian player 6-3, 6-1, saving the only break point she faced from Halep and breaking her opponent four times.
Rogers will next play the winner of the match between Australian wild-card entry Ash Barty and Annika Beck of Germany in the second round.
France’s Jeremy Chardy had the distinction of winning the first men’s match, although it was helped by an injury to Nicolas Almagro’s right leg.
Chardy was leading the Spanish player 4-0 in the first set of their match on Court 12 at Melbourne Park when Almagro could not continue because of a calf strain that he first picked up at a tournament in Doha 10 days earlier. Chardy advanced to the second round while Almagro walked away with $37,500 as a first-round loser.
Meanwhile, Destanee Aiava only had to hit a ball to establish the first milestone at the tournament, becoming the first player born in this millennium to play a main-draw match at a Grand Slam event. The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student got a wild-card entry. She lost to German qualifier Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the opening match on Show Court 2.
French Open champion Garbine Muguruza took out New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic in the first round for the second time in three years. Muguruza fought off three break points at 1-4 in the second set and cruised from there, winning the final five games for a 7-5, 6-4 victory.
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