Ash Barty had plenty of support at Rod Laver Arena as she kicked off her tournament in style with a 6-0 6-0 win against Danka Kovinic.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and wife Brooke were in the stands, repaying the favour after Barty cheered on the Tigers as they charged to a third AFL premiership in four years in 2020.

Barty presented Cotchin with the premiership cup after beating Geelong in last year's decider, and was seen regularly roaring in the stands during the finals series in Queensland.

The Aussie started in fine form on the court, breezing through her opening service game then breaking for a 2-0 lead as she won the first eight points of the match.

That hot streak was extended to 16 straight points when Barty took a rapid 4-0 lead in 10 minutes.

The first set was over in the blink of an eye, Barty storming to 6-0 in just 18 minutes.

Kovinic put up more of a fight in the second set but she was no match for the world No. 1 as Barty bulldozed her way to a 3-0 lead in 15 minutes.

That quickly became 5-0 and she wrapped up the next game with ease to claim victory in just 44 minutes.


Ecstasy and agony for Aussies

Finally, Thanasi Kokkinakis has a reason to smile.

The injury-prone Aussie, whose career has stalled because of his body, beat Soonwoo Kwon 6-4 6-1 6-1 in just his second match since September 2019.

It's Kokkinakis' first win in 532 days, and his first victory at the Australian Open since 2015.

Aussie veteran Sam Stosur beat countrywoman Destanee Aiava in straight sets, claiming her first win at Melbourne Park since 2015.

But there was terrible news for local favourite Jordan Thompson, who was forced to retire in the third set of his match against Casper Ruud because of a neck injury.


Aussies on fire as Nadal advances

Aussie Alexei Popyrin pulled off the most memorable win of his career in a five-set slugfest to upset 13th seed David Goffin.

The world No. 113 saved four match points then came up clutch when he had the opportunity to turn the tables, securing a stunning come-from-behind 3-6 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-3 victory.

Popyrin was down two-sets-to-one but the 21-year-old showed incredible fighting spirit to stay in the match and knock Goffin, ranked 15th in the world, out in the first round.

There was more good news for Australia when Alex De Minaur bounced American Tennys Sandgren out of the tournament 7-5 6-1 6-1.

Elsewhere in the men's draw, Rafael Nadal blew out the cobwebs with a straight sets win over Croatian Laslo Djere, while fourth seed Daniil Medvedev beat Vasek Pospisil 6-2 6-2 6-4.


Tennis officials give good news about ball girl drama


Tennis officials have responded to the distressing scene of an Australian Open ball girl collapsing on court in a worrying scene early on Day 2.

Less than one hour into the action on a hot day at Melbourne Park, a ball kid fell to the ground from out of the blue at the back of Court 16 during the match between Lloyd Harris and Mikael Torpegaard.

Players and on-court staff rushed to attend to the young girl.Tennis reporter Jose Morgado reported both players also came to see the child and were there alongside the kid as she was helped from the court to receive medical attention.

Australian Open officials responded to the incident on Tuesday afternoon to say the girl will now be rested for several days before returning at the end of this week.

"A ball kid was unwell during the first match on Court 16 today," a Tennis Australia spokesperson told Channel 7.

"She was immediately attended to by the medical team and will rest at home as a precautionary measure. She will return to her ball kid duties later this week.

"The weather is forecast to hit 27C in parts of Melbourne on Tuesday with the mercury expected to reach 25C at Melbourne Park.

Barty hits brakes on party expectations

Women's world No. 1Ashleigh Barty is in action on Tuesday as she aims to become the first Australian women's champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Barty, fresh from winning the Yarra Valley Classic final against Garbine Muguruza on Sunday, plays Montenegro's Danka Kovinic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena.

"There's no extra pressure for me, that's for sure," Barty said. "It's the same whether it's a Grand Slam or a tour event. I love playing in Australia."

Barty is the headline match for the Tuesday night session and can be watched live on TV from 7pm (AEDT).

- with AFP

Federer wife refused to come to Australia

Roger Federer pulled out of the Australian Open last year and revealed the prospect of doing 14 days in hotel quarantine with his family made it an easy choice to skip the first grand slam of 2021.

Given two options of doing hard lockdown with wife Mirka and their four children or travelling alone and being separated from his family for more than a month.

Tennis Australia's head of player liaisons, Brazilian former professional Andre Sa, also revealed the 20-time major champion had baulked at the strict quarantine protocols enforced Down Under.

"The problem is that Mirka (Federer's wife) and her children couldn't leave the room. They would have to stay 14 days in the room. The exception is only for players. He could go out, train and come back, but the family couldn't. Mirka did not approve the idea."

Sa also claimed Federer told him: "'Dude, (I'm) 39, (I have) four kids, 20 Grand Slams, I am no longer (willing) to spend five weeks away from my family."

Star's anger after toilet debacle

Canadian Denis Shapovalov has given a brutally frank response after being denied a toilet break during his four-hour marathon on Monday night.

Shapovalov said he was worried about having to relieve himself on the court after the chair umpire ordered him back onto the court.

The tense moment came after Shapovalov had conceded the fourth set with the match on a knife-edge.

"What happens if I go? Do I get a fine? I don't care," he said.
"What do you mean I can't go? Are you going to disqualify me? I have to pee.

"I'm going to p*** my pants. I'm going to p*** in a bottle."

After winning the match in five-sets, Shapovalov insisted his bathroom emergency was genuine and nowhere near an attempt at gamesmanship to stop opponent Jannik Sinner's momentum.

"I was just blowing off steam, just kind of cooling my head, getting rid of it," he said.
"But also, I do think it's a dumb rule. Especially for me, I've got the smallest bladder ever, so I literally got to take a p*** every set. So it's difficult, especially when you're on that court for so long.
"Before the match I'm trying to hydrate as much as possible, so yeah, I gotta pee, man."


Australian Open Day 2 results

Sofia Kenin (USA) [4] defeats Maddison Inglis (AUS) 7-5 6-4

Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [14] defeats Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 6-4 6-0

Nao Hibino (JPN) defeats Astra Sharma (AUS) 2-6 6-3 7-5

Elina Svitolina (UKR) [5] defeats Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-3 7-6

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeats David Goffin (BEL) [13] 3-6 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-3

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2] defeats Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-3 6-4 6-1

Daniil Medvedev (RUS) [4] defeats Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-2 6-2 6-4

Alex De Minaur (AUS) [21] defeats Tennys Sandgren (USA) 7-5 6-1 6-1

Samantha Stosur (AUS) defeats Destanee Aiava (AUS) 6-4 6-4

Casper Ruud (NOR) [24] defeats Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3 6-3 2-1 (retired)

Ashleigh Barty (AUS) [1] defeats Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-0 6-0

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [5] v Gilles Simon (FRA)

Kevin Anderson (RSA) v Matteo Berrettini (ITA) [9]

Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) v Daria Gavrilova (AUS)


Engineer drank himself ‘into oblivion’, damaged bakery truck

Premium Content Engineer drank himself ‘into oblivion’, damaged bakery truck

Northern Rivers man faced court after a drunken incident in Ballina

Court heard motorcyclist attacked over ‘intolerable’ noise

Premium Content Court heard motorcyclist attacked over ‘intolerable’ noise

Motorcyclist confronted over the volume of his bike, the court heard

Local man uncovers secret in 4600-year-old painting

Premium Content Local man uncovers secret in 4600-year-old painting

A few years ago he challenged a popular dinosaur story. Now he’s taken aim at one...