Naomi Broady narrowly failed to become the sixth British player to seal their place in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open on Tuesday (17 January 2017) as Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams both began their respective campaigns on a winning note.
The 26-year-old Broady was seeking to join compatriots Andy Murray, Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund, Heather Watson and Dan Evans in the next phase and looked in fine fettle as she took the first set in her meeting with adopted home favourite, Daria Gavrilova.
However, Russian-born Gavrilova, a former number one-ranked junior player who became an Australian citizen in 2015, battled back well to level the match at 1-1. She then won breathless final set in 12 games to secure a hard-fought 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory on Margaret Court Arena.
Beginning his quest for a record-breaking seventh Melbourne title that would see him surpass Roy Emerson, defending men's champion Djokovic faced no shortage of second-set resistance from Fernando Verdasco en route to a 6-1, 7-6, 6-2 win over an opponent that he also overcame in the semi-finals of the Qatar Open earlier this month.
Denis Istomin now lies in wait after the Uzbek's elimination of Ivan Dodig.
Williams, another six-time Australian Open winner who is chasing an Open Era-record 23rd career Grand Slam singles triumph after tying Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 2016, will face Lucie Safarova next after confidently dispatching Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1.
Elsewhere on a sweltering day two, men's third seed Milos Raonic breezed past Dustin Brown, Gael Monfils defeated Jiri Vesely and Dominic Thiem recovered from an early deficit to topple Jan-Lennard Struff in four sets. Fellow seeds David Goffin, Grigor Dimitrov, Roberto Bautista Agut, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon, David Ferrer, Mischa Zverev, Pablo Carreno-Busta, Feliciano Lopez and Philipp Kohlschreiber also went through, while big-serving veteran Ivo Karlovic eventually saw off Horacio Zeballos in a marathon affair that lasted for more than five hours. The final set ended 22-20 in the 37-year-old's favour.
In the rest of the women's draw, the biggest surprise other than Watson's win over Samantha Stosur was Nicole Gibbs' upset of 25th seed Timea Babos. Tsvetana Pironkova was unable to shock Agnieszka Radwanska, while Karolina Pliskova and Dominika Cibulkova saw off the respective challenges of Sara Sorribes Tormo and Denis Allertova.
Barbora Strycova claimed victory over Elizaveta Kulichkova and Elena Vesnina brushed aside Ana Bogdan. There were also wins for Timea Bacsinszky, Caroline Garcia, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Alize Cornet and Yulia Putintseva.