Melbourne, Australia, 17 January 2023 | Vivienne Christie

On a day that had a little bit of everything at Melbourne Park – extreme heat followed by wild rains – Alex de Minaur was in no mood for drama as he launched his Australian Open 2023 campaign.

Rather, the No.22-seeded Australian was ruthlessly efficient as he progressed past Chinese Taipei qualifier Hsu Yu-Hsiou at John Cain Arena, taking just over two hours to complete his 6-2 6-2 6-3 win.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match but I’m just happy to be here in Australia,” said De Minaur, explaining post match how he’d carefully scouted his first-time opponent.

“Playing in front of you guys, there’s no better feeling. It doesn’t matter who I play, I’m going to be up for it.”

While the 208th ranked Hsu was making his main-draw debut at Grand Slam level, De Minaur is contesting his sixth Australian Open and 21st major overall.

The disparate experience showed from the outset, as a typically energised De Minaur engaged keenly in rallies and capitalised on untimely errors from Hsu.

The biggest frustration for the Australian was arguably a rain delay, with play paused after the sixth game while the roof was closed. It halted none of De Minaur’s momentum as he quickly closed out the set when play resumed.

A 47 per cent first serve success rate provided room for improvement, De Minaur elevating the pressure as he found his serving groove. That number increased to 71 per cent in the business-like second set, De Minaur breaking Hsu’s serve to love to take a 3-2 lead, extending the advantage with another break in an elongated seventh game.

Hsu, by contrast, was unable to a earn any break point opportunities; De Minaur underlined his dominance as he won five straight games to take a two-set lead.

The Australian immediately added to that authority, taking a 2-0 lead in the third-set. While concentration briefly wavered, De Minaur was never legitimately troubled as he completed a pleasing victory in straight sets.

With his 26 winners boosted by eight aces and only one double fault, De Minaur can be justifiably confident as he faces either big-serving American John Isner or veteran Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the second round.

Determined to improve on his career-best fourth-round Australian Open appearance a year ago, De Minaur’s spirits are also boosted by a come-from-behind win over Rafael Nadal at the United Cup.

“I knew I had that level for a while, but to get these wins it’s a different level. I know I can do it every week, so that’s the plan now,” De Minaur commented.

“I’ve just got to get to play those matches and back myself.”

Earlier, fellow Australian Kim Birrell claimed a sensational first-round victory over experienced No.31 seed Kaia Kanepi, the Queenslander winning in three sets.

> READ: Brave Birrell advances at AO 2023

Jordan Thompson is so far the only other Australian to complete a first-round men’s match today, the Sydneysider exiting to American J.J. Wolf in four sets.

AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open

Men’s singles, first round
[22] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Yu Hsiou Hsu (TPE) 6-2 6-2 6-3
[WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d Chun-Hsin Tseng (TPE) 4-6 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 7-6(4) 6-1
J.J. Wolf (USA) d Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3 3-6 6-4 7-5
Jenson Brooksby (USA) d Chris O’Connell (AUS) 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-2

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) d [31] Kaia Kanepi (EST) 3-6 7-6(4) 6-1
Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE) d [WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) 6-0 6-4

Men’s singles, first round
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-1 6-2 4-2 to finish
[Q] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [Q] Brandon Holt (USA) 4-6 6-1 2-4 to finish
[Q] Max Purcell (AUS) v Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-6 to finish

Men’s singles, second round
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
[WC] John Millman (AUS) v [7] Daniil Medvedev
[WC] Jason Kubler (AUS) v [18] Karen Khachanov
[22] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v John Isner (USA) or Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

Women’s singles, second round
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 
v Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE) 
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
 v Marta Kostyuk (UKR)

> READ: Australian Open doubles draws revealed

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