MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Monday at the Australian Open: (all times local):
Fifth-seeded Sloane Stephens ended a three-match losing streak in first-round matches at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow American Taylor Townsend.
Stephens lost in the first round of the Australian Open in 2015, 2016 and 2018. She missed the 2017 tournament here after undergoing foot surgery and went on to win the U.S. Open later the same year.
Stephens and Townsend were among 15 American women in the singles main draw this year, including those who qualified.
Townsend has lost all three first-round matches she has played in Melbourne.
Rafael Nadal wasn’t about to let another Australian wild-card entry beat him at a Grand Slam tournament.
The Spanish left-hander beat No. 238th-ranked James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, his 15th win in 17 matches against wild cards at Grand Slam tournaments.
Nadal’s only previous defeats to wildcard entrants at majors were against American James Blake in the third round of the 2005 U.S. Open and Australian Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2014.
Nadal, wearing a sleeveless top, did an extended left-arm celebratory pump after breaking Duckworth’s serve after two cross-court stunners to lead 4-2 in the third set.
His only stumble as he served for the match and was broken by Duckworth, who got back to 5-4. But Nadal returned the favor, breaking the Australian in the final game of the match.
Nadal has only lost twice in the first round at Grand Slams — to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon, and to Fernando Verdasco at Melbourne Park in 2016.