Seeded big guns Samantha Stosur, Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios have led the way on a banner day for Australia at the French Open.
Stosur, Tomic and Kyrgios all safely progressed to the second round in Paris, while victories also on Monday for exciting imports Daria Gavrilova and Ajla Tomljanovic added to Australia’s flying start to the year’s second grand slam.
Seeded at a major for the first time and looking to back up his charges to the Wimbledon and Australian Open quarter-finals, Kyrgios outclassed Denis Istomin 6-3 6-4 6-3 in his opener.
The 20-year-old 27th seed next faces either Brit Kyle Edmund or Frenchman Stephane Robert, both qualifiers, and has a golden opportunity to set up a potential third-round blockbuster with Andy Murray.
Riding high after claiming her first title of the year in Strasbourg at the weekend, Stosur downed rising American Madison Brengle 6-1 6-3 before Tomic dug in for an impressive 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Italian qualifier Luca Vanni.
Stosur’s victory thrust the women’s 26th seed and former finalist into a meeting on Wednesday with French wildcard Amandine Hesse, who earlier eliminated Jarmila Gajdosova in three sets.
Seeded 27th in the men’s event, Tomic could face Davis Cup teammate Thanasi Kokkinakis next after grinding out just his second win in six trips to Paris – and first since 2012.
Vanni had beaten Tomic in a tough three-setter at altitude in Madrid earlier this month and threatened to get the better of him once again on Monday.
Tomic, though, hung tough and snared the decisive break in the fourth game of the pivotal third set to take control.
He broke the Italian again early in the fourth before serving out the match after two and 32 minutes.
Tomljanovic was the first Australian through to round two storming past compatriot Casey Dellacqua 6-2 6-2 in just 62 minutes.
The 22-year-old world No.58 struck 29 winners to Dellacqua’s seven to progress to a second-round showdown on Wednesday with German 11th seed Angelique Kerber.
Coached in tandem by Samantha Stosur’s mentor David Taylor, Tomljanovic upset former world No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska en route to the last 16 in Paris last year and looms as a dark horse to make another strong run in 2015.
Gavrilova added to Australia’s triumphant day with 6-1 7-6 (7-3) victory over Swede Johanna Larsson.
The Russian-born 21-year-old’s first-ever grand slam win set up a second-round clash with German seed Sabine Lisicki.
But like Gajdosova, fellow Australians Sam Groth and Marinko Matosevic crashed out of the claycourt major on day two.
Gajdosova suffered a disappointing 2-6 6-3 6-2 loss to French wildcard Amandine Hesse, while her ex-husband Groth was gallant in a 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-3 6-3 loss to accomplished 21st seed Pablo Cuevas.
Matosevic went down 6-1 6-2 6-4 to Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.