Ons Jabeur said a knee problem presents her with "a great challenge" at the Australian Open as she looks to reach a third successive grand slam final.

Tamara Zidansek, the world number 98, gave Jabeur plenty to think about in round one on Tuesday, but the Slovenian eventually faded as the second seed came through a 7-6 (10-8) 4-6 6-1 winner.

Two hours and 17 minutes will have been longer than Jabeur wanted to stay out on Rod Laver Arena, but she was pleased to at least finish strongly.

The Tunisian is making a habit of getting through to major finals, losing to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon and Iga Swiatek at the US Open, but she dearly wants to be a winner on such an occasion.

That may still happen in Australia, but Jabeur had taping on her right knee and may find it is beyond her to go deep into the tournament this fortnight. She said the performance was "not the way I wanted to play", and there seems little doubt the knee was a factor.

"It's not a big injury, but sometimes it might bother me," Jabeur said.

"I try to take it one day at a time. It's a great challenge. I'm going to challenge myself and see if I cannot play 100 per cent, but we'll try to push and be able to do something with it for sure."

Her back has also been an issue in recent weeks, and Jabeur had the crowd in creases by saying she would demand a late-night massage from her husband. She quickly clarified that was all she was asking from him, pointing out he is her fitness coach.

Jabeur expects to have a "light practice" on Wednesday ahead of facing Marketa Vondrousova or Alison Riske-Amritraj in round two the following day.

In the second set, she trailed 5-3 but snatched a break back and would have hoped to then get the job done in straight sets, only to be broken herself.

Iga Swiatek, the top seed, was in a similar situation in her opener against Jule Niemeier on Monday, managing to get the job done in two rather than go to a decider.

"It's nice to see Iga from 5-3 [winning] 7-5. I wanted to do that today, but I'm not Iga," Jabeur said. "Better 6-1 in the third set."