Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova dispelled any lingering fitness doubts to be the first player through to the second round of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
The sixth-seeded scored a commanding 6-3 6-1 win over Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum in the opening match at Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
Kvitova pulled out of last week’s Sydney International with gastro, having also retired mid-match during the first round in Shenzhen earlier this month, her only other tournament appearance since the Fed Cup final in November.
“I had a great off-season with fitness and tennis preparation and when I got to China I got some stomach virus or something and I was just laying and going quite often to the toilet for eight to nine days,” Kvitova said.
“So I didn’t eat very well and I lost some weight and that’s why I withdrew from Sydney as well.
“But I’m feeling much better now.”
The world No.7 defied sweltering 30-plus-degree temperatures to blast 18 winners and five aces while dropping serve just once in an impressive 70-minute workout against Kumkhum.
“I’m very pleased with how I played today, how I handled the nerves and everything,” Kvitova said.
“First rounds are always very tough and for me it was my first match of the season so I’m really glad how I did.”
Kvitova next plays Daria Gavrilova on Wednesday for a place in the last 32 after Australia’s rising star ousted Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-6 (6-3) 6-4 in her opener.
In other early women’s matches on Monday, Spanish 10th seed Carla Suarez beat Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic 7-5 6-4 and American Nicole Gibbs defeated Czech Klara Koukalova 6-2 2-6 6-1.