Twelve months ago, Radwanska reached the semifinals at Melbourne Park, and she began her latest challenge in brilliant fashion, whistling through the opening set in under half an hour. Any thoughts of an early night, though, were given short shrift as Pironkova raced into a 2-0 lead to gain a belated foothold at the start of the second set.
While she was unable to hang onto this advantage for long, and Radwanska continued to decorate the contest with her usual flashes of inspiration, she capitalized on a rare flurry of mistakes to break once more in the seventh game. This time it was decisive, the Bulgarian holding her nerve to force a decider.
Her hopes of an upset did not last long. Radwanska halted the World No.64's comeback in its tracks by opening the third set with a run of four straight games. Pironkova managed to pull one of the breaks back, but it was too little, too late as the Pole regrouped to take her place in the second round where she will face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
"That first set was kind of quick. I played very well, I just start very aggressively," Radwanska said. "So I think I just stepped back a little bit in the second set. Obviously she start[ed] to play a little bit better, too.
"I think I was just a little bit too slow, as well. Well, I think always end up like that! But I'm just really glad that I could some more good tennis in that third set and win whole match."
Gavrilova weathered an early storm from Broady, who finished with 19 aces, to eventually book a showdown with Ana Konjuh. "I think I stayed composed. I told my coaches that I was really happy about how I handled the first-set loss because I felt like I had chances," Gavrilova said. "I was just trying to believe that I can still turn it around and win.
"I didn't feel the pressure. I just played. I'm someone who's always going to have tough matches because I can't just blow someone off the court. I don't have a big serve, like, huge forehand or backhand. I think all my matches are going to be tough."