Australian Open day one: Nadal storms through but Williams is out

It was a bad day for American tennis in the women’s singles

Rafael Nadal Australian Open tennis grand slam
Rafael Nadal beat Victor Estrella Burgos in the Australian Open first round in Melbourne
(Image credit: Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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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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