Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina win entertaining first round Australian Open matches

  • Iga Swiatek vs. Sofia Kenin
  • Elena Rybakina vs. Karolina Pliskova
Robert Prange/GettyImages

Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina advanced with straight set wins in their Australian Open first round matches against tough opponents.

Swiatek faced American Sofia Kenin. Kenin is the 2020 Australian Open champion. After a high-quality first set that ended in a tiebreaker, Swiatek ran away with the second set. Kenin has dealt with injury and confidence issues since winning her maiden Grand Slam right before the pandemic, but she has reemerged healthier and stronger in recent months.

Elena Rybakina played Karolina Pliskova who also pushed her to a first set tiebreaker. The level of tennis in this match from start to finish was incredibly high for a first-round match. Like Kenin, Pliskova has struggled with injuries and confidence, but she recently played one of her best matches at Brisbane International against Naomi Osaka thwarting her comeback.

Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina face difficult draws at 2024 Australian Open

The challenges will continue to come for both Swiatek and Rybakina. Swiatek faces American Danielle Collins who defeated Angelique Kerber in her first Grand Slam match since having a child in 2023. Rybakina has Anna Blinkova in the second round. The 25-year-old Russian, who turned pro in 2015, is enjoying some of her best singles results and is ranked in the Top 40.

With Kenin, Kerber, and Osaka out in the first round, that leaves Aryna Sabalenka (2023), Caroline Wozniacki (2018), and Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2013) as the three women remaining in the draw who are former Australian Open champions. All three looked great in their first-round wins, so the question remains: will a new Australian Open champion be crowned at the end of these two weeks? Much has been said and written about the mothers (Elina Svitolina, Osaka, and Kerber) coming back from maternity leave to play. Still, it is worth noting that single mother Victoria Azarenka has been playing on the WTA Tour consistently since 2018.

Read more from Lob and Smash