Iga Swiatek extended her 16-match win streak by one more as she took victory on Tuesday in a match-up of Grand Slam winners, defeating Sofia Kenin 7-6 (2), 6-2 at the Australian Open.

The match between the reigning world No. 1 and the 2020 trophyholder in Melbourne began with a fist set lasting for more than an hour as Swiatek found her way in front of a heavily Polish-friendly crowd.

It was a replay of the 2020 Roland Garros final won by Swiatek.

The tournament top seed lifted in the second set to run out the winner on a second match point.

“It wasn’t the easiest first round,”the winner said. “She played really well. I tried to find my rhythm, especially in the first set.

“I’m happy at the end of the set I could win the most important points.

“I’m happy to be through and I could play a little bit better in the second set.

“It was the first match (of the Grand Slam season). “I felt a bit off and she did her best to keep it that way.”

Kenin won the Melbourne title in 2020 but then fell victim to a run of injuries which have left the former No. 4 standing 41st.

Swiatek will face American Danielle Collins in the second round after the 2022 finalist here beat 2016 Melbourne winner Angelique Kerber.

The German who gave birth last year and made her return to tennis at the start of this season, lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the high-profile meeting between two unseeded competitors.

Kerber, with three Grand Slam trophies, was playing the event for a 16th time

“There are no easy draws when you’re coming back, especially after so long,” he said after 18 months away.

“Of course, for me, it was a tough draw and I was trying to play as good as I can today.

“But for sure it was not really the best tennis I could play; it’s the first real tournament for me, and I tried my best.

“I just tried to keep going, trying to have a lot of matches afterwards and trying to play good tennis later on this year.”

Russia’s Daria Kasatkina beat American Peyton Stearnes in hero first match of the tournament. Photo: REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Adelaide runner-up Daria Kasatkina, seeded 14th began her Grand Slam with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory over American Peyton Stearnes.

The player who has gone out four times here in the opening round has a Melbourne career best of a third-round place two years ago.

Unseeded former US Open winner Sloane Stephens broke the back of a losing streak after making first-round exits in her last four appearances at Melbourne Park.

The American brought new hope to her game with a 6-3, 6-1 win at the expense of Aussie wild card Olivia Gadecki in less than an hour.

Two-time Melbourne winner Victoria Azarenka held off Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 while weekend Adelaide champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced past Aussie Kimberly Birrell 7-6 (5), 6-1.