Azarenka beaten in first Australian Open match since 2016

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal pose for photos after Australian Open final

Victoria Azarenka made her first Australian Open appearance since 2016, though it ended in an opening-round defeat on Tuesday.

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka’s long-awaited return to Melbourne did not go according to plan after she was bundled out by Laura Siegemund.

Melbourne Park has been a happy hunting ground for former world number one Azarenka, who won back-to-back Australian Opens in 2012 and 2013.

The Belarusian star, however, missed the 2017 and 2018 tournaments amid a custody battle over her son.

But Azarenka made her first Australian Open appearance since 2016 on Tuesday, though it ended in a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2 opening-round defeat on Melbourne Arena.

Azarenka, who was broken in a decisive sixth game of the final set, hit 29 winners but 40 unforced errors as she exited the year’s first grand slam after two hours, 42 minutes.