The first round match-up of Danielle Collins who got Anna Kalinskaya as her opponent in a draw was never considered as cakewalk for last year's runner-up. Despite decent form showed by the American in preceding tournaments, Kalinskaya was perceived as the one who can make some trouble at the start of this year's AO campaign of "Danimal". Hardly anyone could expect this kind of emotional charge of this match, which occured the best show of all today's matches.
Beggining of the match could cause some fear for Collins fans, as the American took medical time-out after 5 games. Danielle was struggling with a knee pain and received a treatment from physio. Despite menacigly looking issue, Collins came back on court with taped knee and won first set 7-5 after three set-points on Kalinskaya's serve in game 10th and 12th. The Russian also had a chance to break between those, but it was Collins who grabbed a set lead. Second set was a little bit shaky with both ladies sharing breaks in the middle of it. Collins was more vulnerable on serve than in the beginning and got broke for a set level score by Kalinskaya. Both sets lasted more than one hour each. The decider was an absolute emotional rollercoaster. Collins showed her engagement, reacting expressively to the on-court events for a few times. The Russian had no intention to give up her chance for making quite an upset and raised her game to the level, where she was surprising her favored opponent with excellent baseline winners. Danielle let her emotions out a couple of times in this set, after missing her chances to break Kalinskaya in second game, and being clearly unhappy with her own performance today. Despite that, last year's AO finalist regrouped herself, defending the only one breakpoint on her serve in third game and seeking for a chance to take control of the match. First chances came true in 10th, and last game of the deciding set as a result. Kalinskaya missed her serve a few times, giving Collins the opportunity, which "Danimal" could not give away. 2:55 hours of an exciting battle was settled on favour of the American, who did not fail on her first hurdle on the road to defend a big bunch of points from last year's final run. Kalinskaya was clearly complaining to the chair umpire after the match. The Russian was unhappy with audience behavior, which was allegedly distractive for her in decisive moments of this emotional battle. The crowd was expressly favoring Collins. The American managed to earn the sympathy of some of the locals fans during many of her fabulous performances on Australian soil during previous years.
Next stop for Collins is Karolina Muchova. Talented player from Czech Republic plays in Melbourne on the protected ranking rules and is clearly coming back to her good shape, allowing Lesia Curenko to score just three games, showing brilliant performance on the road to R2. Another interesting match to wait for, that's for sure.
Iga Swiatek could saw some flashbacks from last year's encounter with Julia Niemeier. World #1 defeated her German opponent 6-4 7-5, but both sets were tricky and last year's WTA dominant player needed to reach the higher gear in goal to come out from some little trouble. Both players were holding their serves well till the 7th game when Niemeier was the first to create breakpoint chances. Swiatek held and converted her first own breakpoints in 10th game to grab the first set. Which failed in first set, worked out at the start of second one, when Niemeier broke Swiatek. The German was keeping the gap, but did not serve out for the decider. Swiatek won three games in a row and advanced to second round, but needed as much as 2 hours for that task to be completed. Camila Osorio is the next one (defeated Panna Udvardy 6-4 6-1).
Elena Rybakina spent some less time on the court, needing just 81 minutes to eliminate Elisabetta Cocciaretto - the Italian who reached final stage of WTA Hobart 250 last weekend. 7-5 6-3 is the score. Bianca Andreescu vs Maria Bouzkova was one of the blockbusters of women's action today. US Open 2019 champion was the favorite with average odd 1.74 besides Bouzkova being seeded here, and the Canadian delivered with easy win 6-4 6-2. The first quarter of tournament's draw with big names as Swiatek, Rybakina, Andreescu and Danielle Collins survived the R1 in complete.