World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is through to the Australian Open second round after a crushing defeat of Victor Estrella Burgos in Melbourne.
Spaniard Nadal was on top form as he beat his Dominican Republican opponent 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.
The 17-time grand slam winner, who will face Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer next, has recently been struggling with a knee injury. But after his first-round win he told media he is “feeling good”.
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Quoted by the BBC, he said: “If I did not feel ready I would not be here. I’m happy to be back. I always have doubts, but at the same time I have confidence that I was ready to start the tournament and that was the case.”
Britain’s Kyle Edmund is also through after a dramatic five-set victory over 11th seed Kevin Anderson. Edmund won 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a second-round tie against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.
Second seed Roger Federer, who beat Nadal in last year’s final, starts his title defence tomorrow morning (8am) with a first-round clash against Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene.
Meanwhile, it was a bad day for American women in the singles as Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe and Sloane Stephens were all knocked out in the first round.
Williams, a finalist last year in Melbourne, was sent packing after losing to Belinda Bencic. The 20-year-old Swiss, unseeded for Melbourne, powered through with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Williams.
Bencic told BBC Radio 5 live: “It means so much to me. I lost to Venus four times and I tried my best to give my all today, and changed some things tactically.
“I think it was a huge opportunity and I used it, so I was very relieved after the match point. After the injury and the tough times it’s really an amazing feeling.”
Tenth seed Vandeweghe “lost the plot over a lack of bananas”, the BBC says, after a row with the chair umpire during her loss to Timea Babos.
When Vandeweghe was asked by umpire Fergus Murphy why she was not ready to play, she replied: “I’m waiting for the bananas.”
To round off a bad day for American tennis US Open champion Stephens was knocked out by world No. 34 Zhang Shuai of China.
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