With first-round victories on Tuesday, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko each moved one step closer to a possible third-round meeting at the Australian Open.

No.18 seed Azarenka, a back-to-back Australian Open champion in 2012 and 2013, held off powerful Camila Giorgi 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in 2 hours and 26 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.

Azarenka regularly brings her best tennis to Melbourne -- she was a semifinalist at this major as recently as last year. She started her 2024 Australian Open campaign by winning 84 percent of her first-service points to top 53rd-ranked Giorgi.

With the win, Azarenka edged ahead 3-2 in her head-to-head with Giorgi. In the process she notched her 48th career match-win at the Australian Open -- the sixth most in the Open Era.

Azarenka has one more hurdle to overcome before a potential meeting with Ostapenko, if seedings hold. Azarenka will first face another big-hitting player in the second round when she takes on 21-year-old Clara Tauson of Denmark.

Tauson, a former Junior No.1 who has struggled with injuries over the past couple seasons, moved past Greet Minnen 7-5, 7-5 in Tuesday's first round. Azarenka won her only previous meeting with Tauson at 2021 Roland Garros.

Later on Court 3, No.11 seed Ostapenko survived a tricky first set before advancing past Australian wild card Kimberly Birrell 7-6(5), 6-1 in 1 hour and 40 minutes. 

Ostapenko, an Australian Open quarterfinalist last year, has started this year at a blistering pace, winning eight of her first nine matches in 2024. She won her seventh career title three days ago at the Adelaide International, which nudged her back into the Top 10 for the first time since September of 2018.

The Latvian needed to muster up every bit of that Top 10 form against World No.116 Birrell, who battled back from 5-2 down in the first set. In front of her compatriot crowds, Birrell held two break points to take a 6-5 lead and serve for the first set.

Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Ostapenko, though, was able to get out of that jam and squeak into a first-set tiebreak. After falling behind an early mini-break, Ostapenko found some fierce forehands to reach triple set point at 6-3, then fired one more winner from that wing to close out the set.

After grinding through the 72-minute opener, things were much easier for 2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko in the second set, where she won all eight of her first-service points and converted three of her four break chances.