No.1 seed Dayana Yastremska survived a spirited challenge from Lea Boskovic in the first round of Australian Open qualifying, defeating the Croatian 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and 7 minutes to open her 2024 Melbourne campaign.

The Ukrainian former No.21's first serve was key to the outcome. She dropped just eight points behind it throughout the match, compared to winning only 55% of her second-serve points; in the third set, Yastremska posted her highest first-serve percentage, landing 54% of them to take control of the decider. She will next face Greece's Valentini Grammatikopoulou, who came through 7-5, 6-3 over Elvina Kalieva.

Other seeds to win their openers included No.13 Olga Danilovic, fresh from a United Cup quarterfinal run alongside ATP No.1 Novak Djokovic. The Serb was ruthless in dispatching Iryna Shymanovich 6-2, 6-0 in just 1 hour and 11 minutes. No.19 Hailey Baptiste raced past wild card Seone Mendez 6-3, 6-1 in 1 hour and 18 minutes; and No.12 Harriet Dart, who reached her first WTA 125 final in Canberra last week, maintained her form with a 6-2, 7-6(4) defeat of Nuria Brancaccio.

Inglis, Joint, Seidel cause upsets

However, Dart's conqueror in the Canberra final was unable to bring her momentum to Melbourne. No.14 seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz was edged 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 by No.283-ranked wild card Maddison Inglis in 2 hours and 31 minutes. The Spaniard seemed to have avoided the upset when she overturned a 3-0 third-set deficit to lead 5-4, only for the Australian to pull off another plot twist to take the last three games.

Another local wild card, Maya Joint, also pulled off an upset in a three-set thriller, ousting Natalija Stevanovic 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in 2 hours and 13 minutes. No.573-ranked Joint, 17, reached her first WTA 125 quarterfinal in Canberra last week, and was making her Grand Slam qualifying debut. The Australian will next face No.32 seed Darja Semenistaja, who battled past former World No.25 Timea Babos 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

A second teenager to oust a seed was 18-year-old Ella Seidel, who out-hit No.8 Elizabeth Mandlik 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in 1 hour and 47 minutes. The German had soared from No.585 to No.195 over the course of 2023, and struck 29 winners in total in her first Grand Slam qualifying match.

The highest seed to lose their opener was No.6 Laura Pigossi. The 2022 Bogota finalist fell 5-7, 7-5, 6-0 to Uzbekistan's Nigina Abduraimova, who raced through the last seven games of the match in a row. No.212-ranked Abduraimova, 29, reached her sole tour-level semifinal a decade ago at Tashkent 2014.

Victories for college alumnae Starodubtseva, Sun, Knutson

Three fast-rising alumnae of the U.S. college system all posted wins for the first time at Melbourne Park. Yuliia Starodubtseva was unranked this time last year, but the 23-year-old Ukrainian has rocketed to her current No.153 after winning three ITF W60 titles in 2023. Starodubtseva, an alumna of Old Dominion University, notched her first Grand Slam qualifying win over Florianopolis 125 finalist Martina Capurro Taborda 6-3, 6-0 and will next face Dart.

Meanwhile, University of Texas alumna Lulu Sun, fresh off a run to the second round of Auckland as a qualifier, upset No.27 seed Heather Watson 6-4, 6-3; and Gabriela Knutson, who graduated from Syracuse University before going on to gain two postgraduate degrees at Durham University, took out No.17 seed Anna-Lena Friedsam 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Knutson will next face Raluka Serban, who became the first Cypriot woman to win an Australian Open qualifying match after defeating Despina Papamichail 7-5, 6-2.

Timofeeva, Riera reach final qualifying round

Eight second-round qualifying matches were also completed on Day 2. Budapest champion Maria Timofeeva, who returned from a foot injury last month, was in top form to knock out No.16 seed Astra Sharma 6-2, 6-4, finishing with a terrific stretch volley winner. The 20-year-old booked her place in the final qualifying round of a major for the second time, having reached that stage at Roland Garros last year.

No.25 seed Julia Riera, who reached the third round of Brisbane last week, also eased into the final qualifying round of a Grand Slam for the first time, dismissing Elsa Jacquemot 6-4, 6-2. No.22 seed Sara Bejlek, 17, also held off Ankita Raina 6-1, 7-5 in her bid to qualify for the Australian Open for a second straight year.