Czech teenager Noskova stuns Kasatkina in Adelaide
Czech Republic's Linda Noskova claimed the first top-10 victory of her career on Monday as the 18-year-old stunned world number eight Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 in the first round of the Adelaide International 1 WTA 500 tournament.
World number 102 Noskova, who beat higher-ranked opponents Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova in qualifying to make the main draw of the Australian Open warm-up event, came close to sealing a straight-sets win over third seed Kasatkina.
After failing to close out the match on serve while up 6-5 in the second set and handing her Russian opponent a lifeline, Noskova raised her game in the decider and sealed the victory with a blistering crosscourt forehand.
"I'm so surprised (with the win) as I didn't play really great today and I'm looking forward to the next match because the atmosphere was great," Noskova said.
"It's a really great start for me here... I just want to play my best so I can prepare for the Australian Open."
Veronika Kudermetova then made short work of American Amanda Anisimova as the fourth seed prevailed 6-3, 6-0 to set up a clash with former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina later beat fifth-seeded American Danielle Collins, coming from a set down to hand the 2022 Australian Open runner-up a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 defeat.
FERNANDEZ OFF TO WINNING START
Third seed Leylah Fernandez beat Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-1, 6-1 in her opener at the WTA 250 Auckland Classic, which returned to the tour after the previous two editions were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.
In the next round, the 20-year-old former U.S. Open runner-up meets Julia Grabher who beat Tereza Martincova 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
Venus Williams, who has received a wild card for the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open, began her preparation for the Grand Slam with a 7-6(4) 6-2 victory over fellow American Katie Volynets after a brief rain delay.
It was the 42-year-old's first victory since Wimbledon 2021 and she faces China's Zhu Lin next.
Former U.S. Open champions Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens as well as French Open runner-up Coco Gauff and ex-Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin are all in action on Tuesday.
Early exits for Rune, Auger-Aliassime
World number six Felix Auger-Aliassime began his season with a straight-sets defeat by Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin on Monday while Holger Rune crashed out to Yoshihito Nishioka in the ATP 250 Adelaide International 1 first round.
Auger-Aliassime enjoyed a strong second half of the 2022 season, picking up titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel, as well as helping Canada to the Davis Cup crown, but failed to reach those levels in a 6-4, 7-6(5) loss to Popyrin.
The 23-year-old Australian fired 11 aces against his second-seeded opponent to wrap up the biggest victory of his career. His previous two wins over top 10 opponents, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas, came via retirements.
"I played really well, really solid. I served well and used my forehand when I had to, solid on my backhand ... it was down to all the hard work I did in the off-season with my team," Popyrin said. "I'm just really grateful for this win.
"It's up there (with the other big wins). After a tough season last year to come out first match and beat a guy like Felix is a great feeling and the hard work is paying off."
Up next for the world number 120 is American Marcos Giron, who won his opening match against French veteran Richard Gasquet on Sunday.
Denmark's Rune, who won three titles in 2022 including the Paris Masters, where the 19-year-old beat Novak Djokovic in the final, lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Nishioka.
The Japanese player meets American Mackenzie McDonald next.
Miomir Kecmanovic overcame Australian Christopher O'Connell 6-4, 6-4 and could play Daniil Medvedev in the second round if the third-seeded Russian gets past Italian Lorenzo Sonego on Tuesday.
Also in action on the second day of the tournament are Djokovic, Denis Shapovalov, Jannik Sinner, Andy Murray and Karen Khachanov.