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    Monday, January 16, 2023

    Australian Open Lookahead: Djokovic Returns after COVID Ban

    Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during a press conference ahead of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    Novak Djokovic is set to make his return to action at the Australian Open after being banned from the country a year ago because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. He has won 30 of his past 31 tournament matches dating to the end of last season. He is chasing his 10th trophy at the Australian Open and 22nd Grand Slam title overall, which would tie rival Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in tennis history.

    Djokovic faces Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena on Tuesday at Rod Laver Arena in a first-round matchup. No. 2 seed Casper Ruud opens against Tomas Machac, while three-time major champion Andy Murray takes on Matteo Berrettini. The No. 2-seeded woman, two-time Slam runner-up Ons Jabeur, plays Tamara Zidansek, and No. 4 Caroline Garcia faces Katherine Sebov.


    Chance of showers. High of 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 Celsius).


    Women’s First Round: No. 1 Iga Swiatek beat Jule Niemeier 6-4, 7-5; No. 3 Jessica Pegula beat Jaqueline Adina Cristian 6-0, 6-1; No. 6 Maria Sakkari beat Yuan Yue, 6-1, 6-4; No. 7 Coco Gauff beat Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 6-4; No. 13 Danielle Collins beat Anna Kalinskaya 7-5, 5-7, 6-4; No. 15 Petra Kvitova beat Alison van Uytvanck 7-6 (3), 6-2; No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko beat Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-2; No. 24 Victoria Azarenka beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6 (3); Bianca Andreescu beat No. 25 Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 6-4; Marta Kostyuk beat No. 28 Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-4.

    Men’s First Round: No. 1 Rafael Nadal beat Jack Draper 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1; No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz beat Pedro Martinez 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-2; No. 15 Jannik Sinner beat Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-0, 6-2; No. 28 Francisco Cerundolo beat Guido Pella 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; No. 16 Frances Tiafoe beat Daniel Altmaier 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6); No. 20 Denis Shapovalov beat Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; No. 29 Sebastian Korda beat Cristian Garin 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2; Alex Molcan beat Stan Wawrinka 6-7 (3), 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.


    Zero — Number of main-draw wins at the Australian Open in the professional era by Chinese men until Monday, when 17-year-old qualifier Shang Juncheng beat Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5.


    “Yes, we feel pressure being the top Americans and want to do well for our country, but I feel they’re on the ‘GOAT’ status and we’re not even close to reaching that, so there’s no need for us to put pressure on ourselves for that yet.” — Coco Gauff, asked whether she and Jessica Pegula feel pressure trying to represent the U.S. after all of the Grand Slam success of Serena and Venus Williams sisters. -AP

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