The top two stars in tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, showed off their talents on opening day at the Australian Open, cruising into the second round.
Nadal, who was playing in his first Grand Slam match in over six months, demolished a man who he had lost to four times before, Mikhail Youzhny, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“[It was a] very positive result for me, I think a very good start,” said Nadal. “My return worked really well. The serve, too… In general, I played with not many mistakes.”
Nadal has made the finals the last two times he’s played in Australia, and his draw could take him through Roger Federer in the semifinals for a second straight year.
“All opponents are going to be difficult, and with the maximum respect for everybody and knowing that anything can happen in every round against anyone,” said Nadal who now plays Tim Smyczek. ‘So just going to go on court with the same spirit as today, maximum respect, trying to be very focus, and try to play little bit the same way like I did today. I think I did very positive things. I am trying to improve in the thing that I need to improve a little bit more.”
Federer was up in the evening, and the Swiss continued his recent Aussie success easing past Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 for win number 1001.
“I’m very pleased to make this one here tonight,” Federer said. “Winning first round, it’s always a bit of a relief. I thought I played good. So it was nice to get 1001 here now tonight.
Three-time finalist Andy Murray rolled past Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 6-4, 7-6.
Tomas Berdych, Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin were among the other winners on the day. And in the late matches, 18-year-old Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis saved a bunch of break and matchpoints to upset Ernests Gulbis in five sets. Kokkinakis’s countryman Nick Kyrgios was also won in five over Argentine Federico Delbonis.
While things went to form on the men’s side, upsets reigned in the women’s draw with no fewer than eight seeded women sent home.
Former finalist Ana Ivanovic was the highest seed ousted. The No. 5 seed was dropped by doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka in three sets 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
“I was so nervous in the beginning. My hand was shaky,” Hradecka said.
“But I played one time against Ana before, at Wimbledon five years ago, and I had two match points, so my goal was if I had match point this time to finish it. And I’m so happy I did it this time.”
“I think the whole match I didn’t really feel like myself out there,” Ivanovic said. “It was really tough to find my rhythm a little bit, and in the third set I really felt like she raised her level on the court.
“I played okay in the beginning, but in the second and third set I really dropped my level.”
Ivanovic, who reached the finals in 2008. was looking forward to good run after a strong 2014 season.
“It’s really disappointing. It’s probably the worst thing that could happen,” Ivanovic said.
“But still, the year is young, and I really have to step back and work on a few things and maybe try to have a different approach to this kind of event, and try to see what was lacking here.”
Soon after, Angelique Kerber followed losing to Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-4, 0-6, 6-1.
Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova, both in the No. 1 hunt this week, had no such scares. Genie Bouchard also advanced.
“I played an opponent that’s capable of playing very good tennis,” Sharapova said of Petra Martic. “She’s been injured a little bit I believe in the last year or so, but she can play. She’s got some, you know, big weapons. For a first round against someone that’s already played a few matches, I knew I had to be really strong from the beginning.”
The Tuesday docket features top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams aplus defending champion Stan Wawrinka, former No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams, and in the match of the day it’s 2-time champion Victoria Azarenka against Sloane Stephens.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN TUESDAY SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 11:00am Start Time
Samantha Stosur (AUS) vs. Monica Niculescu (ROU)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Marsel Ilhan (TUR)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Aljaz Bedene (SLO)
Rod Laver Arena 7:00pm Start Time
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) vs. Ze Zhang (CHN)
Shelby Rogers (USA) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)
Margaret Court Arena 11:00am Start Time
Nicolas Almagro (ESP) vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Taylor Townsend (USA) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before: 2:30pm
Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) vs. Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
Margaret Court Arena 7:00pm Start Time
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL)
Lucas Pouille (FRA) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)
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