World No. 2 and defending Aussie Open champ Rafael Nadal overcame a tough test in the opening set to roll past Australian Peter Luczak in his starter Monday in Melbourne, advancing 7-6(0), 6-1, 6-4.
“I’m always happy to win the first round of a Grand Slam,” Nadal said. “Peter was playing really well in the first set but he made three errors in the tiebreak that helped me. I knew it was going to be a tough match.”
Luczak served for the first set at 5-3 before eventually getting blanked in the tiebreak.
No. 7 seed Andy Roddick was another player to get opening-round jitters and a first round win under his belt, subduing Thiemo De Bakker 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
“First rounds are always a little uncomfortable, especially at a Slam,” Roddick said. “You’re kind of built up, you’re maybe a little bit overanxious. But I thought it was all right.”
The short-fused American let go of some anxiety late in the match when, with his opponent attempting to toy with him utilizing the drop shot-lob, Roddick backpedaled and drilled De Bakker in the chest with an overhead.
Mighty-serving Croat “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic produced the only seeded upset on the day, coming from a set down to defeat No. 13 Radek “The Worm” Stepanek 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Other Top 10 seeds advancing were No. 4 Juan Martin Del Potro over American “Iron” Mike Russell in four sets, and No. 5 Andy Murray over South African Kevin Anderson in a straight-set rout, dropping only four games.
“It was a good start. He’s a tough player, he beat [Novak] Djokovic before in Miami,” Murray said of Anderson. “He’s won a tour event. So knew it wasn’t going to be — I wasn’t expecting it to be easy. I just got off to a good start, which helped. Broke him straightaway. That always makes a big difference.”
Among unseeded notables, Aussie comer Bernard Tomic downed French qualifier Guillaume Rufin in straight sets, and Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev dismissed Mardy Fish in four sets. Rain during Monday forced the postponement of a number of matches.
Highlights of Tuesday play include (1) Roger Federer vs. Igor Andreev, (22) Lleyton Hewitt vs. Ricardo Hocevar, (9) Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco vs. Carsten Ball, (20) Mikhail Youzhny vs. Richard Gasquet, Rainer Schuettler vs. (25) Sam Querrey in a test for the recovering-from-surgery American, James Blake vs. Arnaud Clement in a veteran battle, (30) Juan Monaco vs. Ernests Gulbis in an upset alert, Fabio Fognini vs. comeback story Taylor Dent, Christophe Rochus vs. American late/never bloomer Donald Young, new American hopeful Ryan Harrison vs. Janko “Tipsy” Tipsarevic, and (26) Nicolas Almagro vs. inspired qualifier Xavier Malisse.
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