Victoria Azarenka beats the heat and 1st-round opponent at Australian Open
A predicted heat wave arrived at Melbourne Park and Roger Federer won a match when it was 106 degrees.
The Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia – Victoria Azarenka of Belarus began her bid for a third consecutive Australian Open title with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 victory over Johanna Larsson of Sweden on Monday as the start of a predicted heat wave arrived.
Azarenka said the tennis court at Rod Laver Arena felt “pretty hot, like you’re dancing in a frying pan or something like that.”
After her match, Roger Federer of Switzerland started his record 57th consecutive Grand Slam tournament with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Australian James Duckworth; the temperature was 106 degrees.
It was Federer’s first match with Stefan Edberg, a Swede who won six major titles, as his coach.
No. 13 John Isner, the only seeded U.S. man in the draw, retired from his opening match after losing the first two sets 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) to Martin Klizan of Slovakia. The 6-foot-10 Isner stopped because of a nagging right-ankle injury.
In an earlier session, three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 and top-seeded Serena Williams of the United States defeated Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-1.
• Retired Jennifer Capriati, who won the title here in 2001 and ’02, won’t have to face battery and stalking charges stemming from a Feb. 14 confrontation with an ex-boyfriend at a gym in North Palm Beach, Fla. Charges were dropped because Capriati, 37, completed 30 hours of community service and four hours of anger-management counseling.