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Nadal flies into Open round two as Kerber issues warning

AFP  |  Melbourne 

A ruthless showed no mercy in a clinical first round thumping at the Monday with fellow former champions and also romping through.

The 17-time winner, who cut short his 2018 season to have on a foot injury, cruised into round two of the year's opening 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 against Australian wildcard

"Not easy to come back after a lot of months, especially against a playing super aggressive on every point," said the 2009 Australian champion, who showed no sign of any worries.

"The I feel in this place is fantastic," he added. The Spanish second seed is bidding to become the first man in the Open era, and only third in history along with and Rod Laver, to win each on two or more occasions.

Fifth seed also progressed against Adrian Mannarino, with last year's finalist a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 winner. NextGen Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas also went through in four sets.

Women's second seed swept past Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-2, 6-2, with champion producing a clinical display to launch her campaign at a tournament she won in 2016.

"We now have 2019 and I try to continue to play how I did last year," said the three-time winner.

Sharapova, a winner at Park in 2008, signalled her intent with a rare 6-0, 6-0 double bagel demolition of Britain's Harriet Dart, who ended the match in tears.

Playing in her 15th Australian Open, the three-time finalist said she was pleased to go through so easily as she battles back from

"It was a good test for my leg, for my shoulder," she said.

"I'm still working through some painful days. But, you know, I felt like I did all the right things today in order to get through that match."

Fifth seeded Sloane Stephens, champion who struggled in her warm-up tournaments in and Sydney, got back to business with an easy two-set win against fellow American

Eleventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, widely tipped as a potential future champion, also safely negotiated round one on a hot day.

But Germany's 14th seed Julia Goerges, who won the recent Auckland Classic, crashed out, as did former champion

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Britain's Katie Boulter, meanwhile, created a slice of history by becoming the first woman to win in a third set tiebreak -- a new rule introduced to the Open this year.

Instead of playing to the death, third or fifth sets now go to a tie-break when the score reaches 6-6 and it becomes the first to 10.

It seemed Boulter wasn't told, fist-pumping and walking to the net at 7/4 before being reminded of the new rule. She went on to beat Russia's 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (10/6).

and open their title defences later in the day, while takes to the court for what could be his farewell match in and potentially his last ever.

Swiss maestro Federer, seeded three, has won the last two Australian Opens and is gunning for a record seventh crown and 21st Grand Slam title.

He starts off against on Arena.

Former world number one Murray tearfully revealed last week that severe from a was proving too much to bear and he planned to retire this year.

He would like to finish at Wimbledon, but admitted the could be his last tournament.

Spain's 22nd seed is the man who could draw the curtain on Murray's time Down Under, where he has been a five-time finalist.

Denmark's Wozniacki broke through for her first Slam title here last year, beating in the final, and gets her tournament under way against Belgium's

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 12:20 IST
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