Rafael Nadal rolled back the clock and brought back the sleeveless top and also brought back the punishment hammer Victor Estrella Burgos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. It was Nadal’s first match of the season after withdrawing from Brisbane and an exo in Abu Dhabi to rest his knee. But Nadal looked in full form against the 37-year-old.
“Happy for the start, of course,” Nadal said. “Is a positive start with a good result. If I do months without playing official match is always a little bit more difficult.
“So I am happy to be here, happy that I’m on court again. Last year have been a long, very good but long season. So yeah, let’s start another one and try to don’t think much about what happened the year before.”
And Nadal was to the point about the knee. “No problems. No problems,” he said.
Nadal will face Argentine veteran Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.
Nick Kyrgios also had an easy day rolling past Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
“Was obviously tough. You know, I went out there pretty nervous,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously, you know, I know I’m hitting the ball well. But to go out there in front of the crowd again, just trying to play well, I was a bit nervous going out there. Happy to get through. Loosened up a little bit in the third set. He kind of was redlining a little bit. Made it a little bit more difficult for me to get into his service games. Ultimately, I thought it was a pretty good performance.”
Next up for the combustible Kyrgios is fellow hot head Viktor Troicki who came from 2 sets down to beat Australian wildcard Alex Bolt.
“I played him last year in Montreal,” Kyrgios said of the Serb. “I won. I know what he’s going to bring. He’s a tough competitor. He plays well in Grand Slams. I’m not going to think about it too much.”
During the day, Grigor Dimitrov dominated qualifier Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.
“I just had to come out and just play my game, simple as that,” Dimitrov said. “I didn’t know, never played against the opponent. In a way, I didn’t know what to expect. I just had to be focused. He already had three matches under his belt. I think it’s a good start today.”
Dimitrov could meet Kyrgios next week.
US Open finalist Kevin Anderson was stunned by lone Brit hope Kyle Edmund in 5 sets 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The American women struggled today but so too did the top men. Jack Sock and John Isner both slumped to 0-4 this year combined. Isner looked sluggish in a 4-set loss to Australian journeyman Matthew Ebden.
Sock, who made such a remarkable run at the end of the year winning Paris to reach the ATP Finals, fell to 0-2 (0-3 inc the Hopman Cup) to Yuichi Sugita losing 6-1, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3.
Australian John Millman upended Borna Coric while Pablo Carreno Busta, Gilles Simon, Alexander Dolgopolov, Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all advanced.
Canadian phenom Denis Shapovalov won the all-teen affair with Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(5). Both were making their Australian Open debuts.
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Tennis Vagabond Says:
Great news about Rafa. From now, there’s always going to be injury concerns about the Old Five, at every tournament, or at least after long breaks. For Rafa this has always been a concern. When he starts rolling, he is a contender.
From that POV, Fed’s odds as favourite have already gone done- simply because we know Rafa as a real challenge is out there. I still see Federer as the favourite overall, but not by much.
Secondly, I said in September that Anderson was not going to suddenly become a legit slam challenger because of one good run…
Thirdly, very glad to see Shapovalov win his first Oz match. Another little bump in the rankings, he must be getting close to automatic entry in the Masters events.
January 15th, 2018 at 8:51 am