Andreescu and Shapovalov win the opening matches of the Australian Open

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., who missed last year’s Australian Open, made a strong return to Melbourne Park on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 25 Maria Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.

Andreescu, who took an hour and 41 minutes to eliminate the 24-year-old from Prague, had 23 service winners and committed just eight unforced errors, compared to Bouzkova’s 17.

Andreescu had two aces, two double faults and was good on 87 percent of her first serves. She had 12 forehand winners and three on the backhand.

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.

Shapovalov breezed through the first set, then struggled through the second set and half of the third before finding his groove and finishing off a resilient Lajovic.

In the match that lasted two hours and 20 minutes, Shapovalov had 38 service-winners, 16 aces and seven double faults. He had 23 winners on the forehand, 11 on the backhand and 30 unforced errors compared to Lajovic’s 22.

Later on Sunday, Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino faces Zhu Lin of China, while Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime takes on Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil in the late game.

WATCH | Andreescu qualified for the 2nd round of the Australian Open:

Andreescu easily wins the 1st round of the Australian Open

Bianca Andreescu cruised to an easy 6-2, 6-4 straight sets victory over 25th-ranked Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic at the Australian Open.

Gauff, Pegula, Raducana are also progressing

Americans Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff and Danielle Collins reached the second round in contrasting fashion.

Third-seeded Pegula beat Jaqueline Cristian of Romania 6-0, 6-1, while seventh-seeded Gauff overcame a second-set wobble to beat Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 6-4.

Collins, last year’s runner-up behind Ash Barty and the 13th seed, battled a left knee injury as she beat Anna Kalinskaya 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.

Pegula and Gauff could meet in the semifinals, while Collins could play No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the fourth round.

A quarterfinalist in Melbourne in each of the last two years, Pegula needed just 59 minutes to get past 161st-ranked Cristian, who was making her third Grand Slam appearance.

“Today is just one of those days when everything worked,” said the American, who will play Czech qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova or Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round.

“It’s always a good feeling when you win a match like that. I think when those days come you just accept it and you don’t complain and you don’t criticize. You just move on to the next one.”

Gauff, who reached her first Grand Slam singles final at the French Open last year, was given the honor of opening the show at Rod Laver Arena and dominated Siniakova in the first set.

The Czech led 4-2 in the second set, but Gauff rallied to win on her seventh match point.

“I didn’t expect to open the tournament on Rod Laver,” Gauff said. “I am very honored that the tournament chose me and Katerina. I am really happy with myself. Katerina is a fighter, I knew she would fight for every point. I stayed mentally strong.”

Gauff will now play former US Open champion Emma Raducana after the British player shrugged off a nagging left ankle problem to beat Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch 6-3, 6-2.

Collins called a medical timeout due to a left knee problem early in the first set of her match against Kalinskaya, but she survived to win in just over three hours.

Another former US Open winner, Bianca Andreescu, advanced to the second round, but 28th seed Amanda Anisimova was defeated 6-3, 6-4 by Marta Kostyuk.

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