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The great escapes on Day 1 of Australian Open

January 16, 2017 23:26 IST

Defending champion Angelique Kerber, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka were among some of the top players who overcame some shaky moments in their opening round matches, on Day 1 of the Australian Open, on Monday.

Check out the top players who had to battle hard for victories on Day 1 in Melbourne:

Top seed Kerber overcomes nerves

Angelique Kerber

Defending champion Angelique Kerber battled her nerves and blew a match point in the second set before finally overcoming Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to reach the second round.

The top seeded German was starting the defence of a Grand Slam title for the first time and made harder and longer work than she might have of advancing to a meeting with compatriot Carina Witthoeft.

"I was actually feeling not too bad," the 28-year-old said after basking in the applause on Rod Laver Arena, where she beat Serena Williams last year to win her first grand slam title.

"From the beginning, I was trying to play my game. I played a good match. There was a little bit where I didn't play too good. I make some simple mistakes in the second set, at the end of the second set.

"But first round matches are always tough."

Wawrinka fights back to advance

Stan Wawrinka

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka survived a scare from Slovakia's Martin Klizan on Monday, fighting back from a break down in the final set to move into the Australian Open second round with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 victory.

It took the world number four more than three hours to knock out his opponent to cries of "Allez Stan" from the crowd after he had struggled early on to cope with Klizan's signature delicate dropshots.

Wawrinka, a three-times Grand Slam champion, gradually found the range on his lethal forehand, however, and he has never lost in the Australian Open first round in 12 visits to Melbourne Park.

Nishikori digs deep to book second round berth

Kei Nishikori was forced to dig deep to reach the second round of the Australian Open on Monday with the world number five taken the distance by Andrey Kuznetsov before eking out a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-2 win.

Japan's Nishikori prevailed after three and a half hours on a baking Hisense Arena, recovering from an early wobble against his Russian opponent that vindicated his call to withdraw from an exhibition event last week to rest a hip injury.

"It was a little bit of a slow start today. I didn't quite play great tennis in the beginning, but especially in the fifth set I think I was really focused and played good tennis," Nishikori told reporters.

"I think he played well from the beginning. Yeah, it was tough, really tough match. "The 27-year-old, who needed medical treatment late in the fifth set, had an encouraging start to the year when he reached the final of a Brisbane warm-up, where he lost to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.

Cilic stages great escape

Seventh seed Marin Cilic staged a great escape to come back from two sets down to beat Poland's Jerzy Janowicz 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 and the big-hitting Croat next faces Daniel Evans of Britain.

Muguruza overcomes some shaky moments

Garbine Muguruza

French Open champion Garbine Muguruza overcomes some shaky moments in her first-round clash on Margaret Court Arena to beat New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 7-5, 6-4.

Muguruza fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set before advancing to the second round.

Photographs: Getty Images

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