Melbourne - Jelena Ostapenko said that ever since winning
the French Open she has become a marked woman with everyone trying to beat her.
That included corset-wearing Italian veteran Francesca
Schiavone, who failed in her task in the Australian Open first round on Monday,
losing 6-1, 6-4.
World number seven Ostapenko raced through the first set on
Rod Laver Arena against the 2010 Roland Garros winner.
But she found herself 4-1 down in the second to the world
number 93 who was bizarrely wearing a weightlifter-style back brace over her
The big-hitting Latvian soon found her range again and hit
back with two breaks of the Schiavone serve, the second achieved with a
trademark forehand winner.
Ostapenko then served out with no further alarms to take the
match in one hour and 14 minutes.
"I mean, of course it's tough, especially after winning
at the age of 20. Everybody wants to beat you," she said of entering a
major tournament as a former Grand Slam champion.
"You have to prepare very well for every match. But on
the other side, I have nothing to lose. I've already won the Grand Slam. I just
enjoy every match and show my best."
Following her French Open success, Ostapenko finished the
year in the top 10 for the first time in her career and has taken the leap to
being a high-profile player in her stride.
"I think after French I did well at Wimbledon. That
gave me even more confidence," she said.
"I've had a good pre-season, and now I'm ready. I'm
looking forward to my second match here."
That will be against China's Duan Yingying who overcame
Colombia's Mariana Duque-Marino in straight sets.