Swiss make strong start to Australian Open

Switzerland's largest ever delegation at a Grand Slam event have made a promising start to the Australian Open. A record nine Swiss players are in Melbourne and on Monday four booked places in the second round.

This content was published on January 15, 2001 minutes

Both the Swiss women involved in first day action won in three sets. Emmanuelle Gagliardi had to defend three match points in a gruelling last set against Australia's Annabel Ellwood before completing a 6-3, 4-6, 8-6 victory.

Miroslava Vavrinec pulled off a surprise win over France's Anne-Gaëlle Sidot, a player more than 50 places above her in the world rankings. After dropping the first set, the 22-year-old Swiss woman won the second set on a tie-break before wrapping up a 3-6, 7-6 (5-7), 6-4 victory.

Vavrinec will face an even harder challenge in the second round where she is due to play America's former world number one Monica Seles.

In the men's draw qualifier Ivo Heuberger continued his successful run, taking a 6-2, 5-4 lead against Younes El Aynaoui before the Moroccan was forced to withdraw with a knee injury.

It may not have been the most dignified way to win, but the quick nature of Heuberger's victory is bound to come as a relief to the 24-year-old who had to win three qualifying matches just to reach the main draw.

Berne's Michel Kratochvil is the fourth player through to the second round. The 21-year-old, who reached the third round of last year's French Open, enjoyed more Grand Slam success on Monday with a straight sets win (6-2, 6-2, 7-6) over the Netherlands' Raemon Sluiter.

Kratochvil is now due to face the current US Open champion Max Mirnyi in the second round.

The only Swiss disappointment on Monday came in George Bastl's match against Guillermo Canas. The Argentinean qualifier, ranked more than 100 places below Bastl, romped to a straight sets win (6-4, 6-4, 6-3) over the Swiss number four.

Bastl, who made 49 unforced errors in the match, has never made it beyond the first round of the Australian Open.

Swiss fans will be hoping for more first round success on Tuesday when the country's top four players are due to be in action.

World number one Martina Hingis begins her campaign to win her first Grand Slam event in two years when she takes on Hungary's Katalin Marosi-Aracama.

Swiss women's number two Patty Schnyder is up against Australia's Evie Dominikovik.

On the men's side Marc Rosset faces Germany's Christian Vinck while Roger Federer has been drawn against France's Arnaud Di Pasquale.

swissinfo with agencies

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