MELBOURNE (AFP) - Former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova moved smoothly into the second round of the Australian Open with a steady 6-3, 6-4 win over Veronica Cepede Royg on Tuesday (Jan 16).
The tall tattooed Czech sixth seed was largely untroubled by her 80th-ranked opponent until serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set.
Pliskova squandered a match point as she was broken by Cepede Royg. But she made no mistake in the next game, breaking the Paraguayan to secure victory in one hour and 32 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
"It got a little bit complicated at the end of the second set," admitted Pliskova, whose identical twin sister Kristyna, ranked 61st, is also playing Tuesday.
Pliskova made her first Grand Slam quarter-final in Australia last year.
"I think the first round is always the toughest for me," she said. "I'll take it match by match and I think I have a good chance."
The big-serving WTA Tour 2017 ace leader will also be US$700 (S$926) lighter for the win after powering down seven service winners.
Pliskova announced on Twitter before the match that she would donate US$100 to a children's charity for each ace during the tournament.
She will have the chance to add to that in the second round on Thursday where she will face either Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil or Australian wildcard Lizette Cabrera.
Ninth seed Johanna Konta skipped past Madison Brengle into the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday, with the Briton overpowering her American opponent 6-3, 6-1 in 66 minutes on Hisense Arena.
Australia-born Konta, who reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park two years ago, brushed off an early exit in her Sydney International title defence last week with an aggressive display that removed any doubts about her fitness.
Brengle had won three of their four previous meetings but grabbed her only break when already two down in the opening set and continued the exodus of American women that was a feature of day one at the year's first Grand Slam.
Konta, 26, needed five match points to finish off the world No. 90 but finally sealed victory when Brengle ballooned a shot wide.
The Briton will meet another American, Bernarda Pera, in the second round. Eighth seed Caroline Garcia of France moved past Germany's Carina Witthoeft 7-5, 6-3 and will face Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic or Japan's Karumi Nara in the second round.