Canada's Shapovalov overcomes errors to defeat Djere in opening match at Australian Open

Canada's Denis Shapovalov overcame shaky moments and worked through a slew of unforced errors to defeat Serbia's Laslo Djere 7-6(3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) in the first round at the Australian Open Monday.

Defending women's champ Naomi Osaka also advances with win over Camila Osorio

Canada's Denis Shapovalov celebrates after winning a point during his first-round singles match against Serbia's Laslo Djere on the opening day of the 2022 Australian Open on Monday in Melbourne, Australia. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Canada's Denis Shapovalov overcame shaky moments and worked through a slew of unforced errors to defeat Serbia's Laslo Djere 7-6(3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) in the first round at the Australian Open Monday.

Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., needed three hours and 23 minutes to close out a match that opened with a lengthy first set and closed with a prolonged fourth set — both went to a tiebreak.

The Canadian, ranked 14th, was not at his best — he had 68 unforced errors in the match — but he did what he needed to break through and get past the 52nd-ranked Djere.

Up 5-2 in the fourth, Shapovalov was serving for the match but ran into trouble when he made three unforced errors and a double fault to extend the encounter. Djere fought off match point and broke the Canadian twice to force a tiebreak.

WATCH | Shapovalov bests Djere at Australian Open:

Shapovalov beats Djere in 1st round at Australian Open

5 months ago
Duration 3:25
Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., defeats Serbia's Laslo Djere 7-6(3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) in the opening round at the Australian Open.

Shapovalov shook off those missed opportunities and forced Djere to go long on triple match point in the tiebreak.

The 22-year-old Shapovalov will face Korea's Soonwoo Kwon in the second round.

After dropping the opening two sets, Djere showed some fight and made quick work of the Canadian in a 34-minute third set. Shapovalov lost serve in the second game and quickly went down 3-0. Djere went on to serve out the set.

Shapovalov was solid in the second set, with his break of Djere in the seventh game proving to be the difference.

The Canadian worked hard to win the first set. He was broken to start the match, and needed to fight off two set points in the 10th game down 5-4 to stay alive. In the tiebreak, his fourth ace of the set put him up 5-3 before Djere's unforced error sealed it. Shapovalov made 22 unforced errors in the first set.

Shapovalov made it to the semifinals of last year's Wimbledon, losing to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. He reached the third round of last year's Australian Open, losing to fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Montreal's Auger-Aliassime is the other Canadian in the men's main draw at this year's tournament. Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., and Vancouver's Rebecca Marino are in the women's singles draw.

WATCH | Canadians to watch at Australian Open:

Canadians to watch at the 2022 Australian Open

6 months ago
Duration 3:17
CBC Sports' Vivek Jacob walks through the Canadian tennis stars you should be watching as they gear up to compete in the 2022 Australian Open

Osaka tops Osorio

Naomi Osaka started her title defence by winning the first five games on the way to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Camila Osorio in the second match on the tournament's main court.

With so much attention on the 11-day saga of Djokovic's attempt to participate in the year's first Grand Slam tournament, and bid for a fourth consecutive title at Melbourne Park, Osaka's return to action has been overshadowed.

After winning here last year, capturing her second Australian Open title in three years, the four-time major winner pulled out of the 2021 French Open before the second round, then sat out Wimbledon. She played at the Tokyo Olympics, where she lit the cauldron, but ended her 2021 season early after a third-round loss and a teary news conference at the U.S. Open.

Osaka reacts during her first-round match against Osorio on Monday. (Hamish Blair/The Associated Press)

Two of her goals for 2022, she said last week, were to stay completely composed on the court and off, and to enjoy the game.

A smile when she completely whiffed an overhead to give Osorio a breakpoint chance in the seventh game maybe was a sign of the new approach. She dropped that service game but recovered quickly.

"It just feels really nice to start the year with this tournament," Osaka said in a post-match, on-court interview. "I thought I played really well given the circumstances."

Nadal launches Grand Slam record bid by ousting Giron

Rafa Nadal launched his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title with a 6-1 6-4 6-2 trouncing of American Marcos Giron to reach the second round.

With Djokovic sent packing by Australian authorities and Roger Federer absent, Nadal can snatch the men's all-time Slam record outright by claiming the title at Melbourne Park.

The only former champion left in the draw, the Spanish great started superbly at a sunbathed Rod Laver Arena, breaking world number 66 Giron five times for the match and thrashing 34 winners past the outclassed American.

Sixth seed Nadal will face the winner of wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis and qualifier Yannick Hanfmann for a place in the third round.

In other men's singles results on Day 1, Italian Matteo Berrettini defeated American Brandon Nakashima. No. 7 seed Berrettini lost the first set 6-4 but claimed 6-2, 7-6, 6-3 set wins after the early scare to advance.

No. 17 seed Gael Monfils of France cruised past Argentina's Federico Coria with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 victory, and No. 31 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain opened with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Chile's Alejandro Tabilo.

Australian wildcard Aleksandar Vukic upset No. 30 Lloyd Harris of South Africa with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) win.

Djokovic lands in Serbia after deportation from Australia

Novak Djokovic arrived in his native Serbia after being deported from Australia because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, ending his hopes of defending his Australian Open title. The tennis star's exit from Australia closes at least the first chapter in a dizzying drama that has resonance in the world of elite sports, Australian pandemic politics and the polarized debate over the COVID-19 shots.

But at the same time another chapter opened as questions arose over whether he would be barred from the next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open. A plane carrying the No. 1-ranked player from his stopover in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, touched down Monday in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. A handful of fans waving the Serbian flag greeted him at the airport.

Zverev, Barty advance

Olympic champion Alexander Zverev wrapped up the Day 1 program on Rod Laver Arena with a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (1) win over Daniel Altmaier.

The third-ranked Zverev recovered a service break in the third set and hit a clean backhand cross-court winner to get triple match point in the 12th game. Altmaier saved all three of those and one more to hold and force a tiebreaker. Zverev dominated the tiebreaker and converted on his next match point.

He will next play John Millman, an Australian who had a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 win over 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez on Margaret Court Arena. For Lopez, it was a quick exit from his 20th Australian Open, and 79th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

Top-ranked Ash Barty didn't waste much time in advancing to the second round of her home Open.

Barty beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-1 in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena. Barty won the first 11 games but eventually needed five match points before advancing in 54 minutes.

Barty is trying to become the first Australian woman since Chris O'Neill in 1978 to win the Australian Open. Two-time major champion Barty will possibly meet defending champion Naomi Osaka, who advanced earlier Monday in straight sets, in the fourth round.

In another match, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin lost 7-6 (2), 7-5 to fellow American Madison Keys.

Sakkari, Bencic and Svitolina win 1st-round matches

Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari started the program on the main court at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) win over Tatjana Maria.

"I was a little bit stressed because I was opening up this tournament on this wonderful court. It's a privilege," Sakkari said. "I'm very glad that I was able to find a way to win and to keep myself in the tournament."

Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Belinda Bencic beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3, and 15th-seeded Elina Svitolina got past Fiona Ferro 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Bencic will next meet Amanda Anisimova, who beat qualifier Arianne Hartono 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

No. 30 Camila Giorgi had a 6-4, 6-0 win over Anastasia Potapova.

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC Sports

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