The 36-year-old Belgian, Kim Clijsters who has won four Grand Slam singles titles but last played in 2012 at the US Open, could not cope with the Spain's Garbine Muguruza.
The 32-year-old Briton missed the Australian Open due to a pelvic injury sustained at the Davis Cup Finals in November and then pulled out of tournaments at Montpellier and Rotterdam.
Novak Djokovic admits he was on brink of defeat with dizziness and dehydration before coming through a five-set thriller against Dominic Thiem to clinch title – also his 17th Grand Slam – and return to world number one.
Nobody beats Novak Djokovic at this stage of the Australian Open. At least, not until now. Djokovic is a seven-time champion at Melbourne Park, where he has never lost a final or semifinal he has contested.
Sofia Kenin counter-punched her way back from a set down against Garbine Muguruza to win her first Grand Slam title with a 4-6 6-2 6-2 win.
Dominic Thiem is in rather fine form at the moment, with three consecutive wins over top-10 opponents, including No 1 Nadal in the quarterfinals and, now, Alexander Zverev.
Djokovic twice fought back from a breakdown in the first set and after dominating the tie-breaker he never looked back, winning 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-3 as Federer, who needed a medical time-out, faded.
Dominic Thiem will face Alexander Zverev for a place in the final, a match-up scarcely imaginable at the start of the tournament, after beating Rafael Nadal.
Ons Jabeur described herself as a "100% Tunisian product" having turned down opportunities to train abroad to continue developing her game at home.
The unseeded 29-year-old brings the curtain down on a career that saw her win 30 WTA titles, with her sole Grand Slam triumph coming in 2018 at Melbourne Park.
The 38-year-old swatted aside Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to race into the second round, kickstarting his bid for a 21st Grand Slam title in immaculate style.
All of the early scheduled matches on the outside courts at Melbourne Park got under way on time while several matches previously suspended due to the poor air quality or the rainfall were rescheduled to resume play later on Thursday.
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