MELBOURNE, Australia - Ons Jabeur's dream day at the Australian Open didn't let up: fresh off ending former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki's career in the third round of singles, the Tunisian partnered with Lara Arruabarrena to stop Samantha Stosur's title defence in the first round of doubles, defeating the crowd favorite and her partner Ellen Perez 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
In a contest between brand new partnerships - it was the Spanish-Tunisian duo's first match together, while Stosur, who won the title last year alongside Zhang Shuai, has teamed up with compatriot Perez in 2020 - Arruabarrena and Jabeur delivered a battling performance to come back from a break down in the first set and a double break deficit in the decider, overcoming a mid-match patch of being outgunned by their No.12-seeded opponents' power and sealing the win by finding their most relaxed, creative tennis at key moments.
Sharpening up her reflexes@bambamsam30 & @EllenPerez95 are about to take Court 3 for their first round doubles match against Arruabarrena & Jabeur.#AO2020 | #AusOpen | #DoublesDownUnder pic.twitter.com/RmtDVPVqWu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2020
A feathery Arruabarrena volley would seal the key break of the Stosur serve for 5-3 in the first set before strong serving from Jabeur closed it out - and at the business end of the third set, the Spaniard would find her own best serves to escape break points at 5-5 before Jabeur came up with some magic on the backhand volley and return en route to breaking Stosur again.
Elsewhere, the top two seeded pairs navigated their first hurdles successfully. No.1 seeds and Wimbledon champions Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova squeezed through a tight second set to defeat Marie Bouzkova and Tamara Zidansek 6-3, 7-5, while No.2 seeds and last year's finalists Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic did the reverse, twice coming from a break down to eke out the first set before dominating the second to beat Dalila Jakupovic and Raluca Olaru 7-5, 6-3. The result sets up an intriguing second-round clash for the Franco-Hungarian pair against the unseeded Ashleigh Barty and Julia Goerges, playing just their second event together.
Meanwhile, the Kazakh duo of Zarina Diyas and Elena Rybakina carried over their strong singles form - where both have reached the third round - to triumph in the day's closest match, a two-hour, 21-minute 6-4, 6-7(1), 7-6 epic over the all-French pair of Alizé Cornet and Fiona Ferro. There were upsets, though, for Roland Garros finalists and No.9 seeds Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai, who fell 6-3, 6-2 to Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani, and No.11 seeds Lucie Hradecka and Andreja Klepac, beaten 6-4, 6-0 by Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya.
In second-round action, No.3 seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka moved on with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Australian pair Jaimee Fourlis and Arina Rodionova, while No.7 seeds Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan took out Kaitlyn Christian and Alexa Guarachi 6-4, 6-2.
The mixed doubles competition also got under way today, with 2018 champion Gabriela Dabrowski getting off to a fine start with new partner Henri Laaksonen. The No.3 seeds came through 6-2, 6-4 over Lucie Hradecka and Kevin Krawietz, while No.8 seeds Hsieh and Neal Skupski needed a super-tiebreak to quell Desirae Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury 7-6(5), 5-7, [10-5]. In addition, Amanda Anisimova bounced back from her first-round singles upset to team up with Nick Kyrgios for a 7-5 6-4 win over wildcards Monique Adamczak and David Vega Hernandez.