Tournament greats Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer opened with comfortable wins Monday at the Australian Open.
On during the day, Federer was over in just 80 minutes as he powered past American Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Not for a 38-year-old playing his first match of the season.
“I haven’t played proper matches in many, many weeks, and probably 95 per cent of the guys are coming here with matches,” Federer said.
“I think for me really, the first three rounds are key to get going, to get used to the pressure, stay calm, when to save break point or 30-30 points or whatever it may be or just to stay calm if you’re down a set and a break. This is the unknown that can be a little bit scary at times.
“But today there was none of that because I broke early each set and was able to get on a roll, play freely after that. And also felt I had margin. Anything I was doing, I felt like I had the game under control.”
Djokovic was on in the evening and despite a rare set loss, had a good win over Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 to improve his streak to 8 straight in Melbourne and 7 overall in 2020. The victory was also the 900th of his career.
“I’m obviously very proud of all the achievements, but at the same time I try to remind myself how grateful I am to be playing this sport at a high level at this stage of my career. I can’t take things for granted, I’m trying to enjoy every moment,” Djokovic said.
In between, rains hit the tournament hard mid-afternoon, stopping all play on the outer courts and at the end just 13 of the 32 men’s matches were finished, with many in suspension. Before then, Denis Shapovalov fell in four sets to Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1, 7-6(3).
After complaining about a racquet code violation, the Canadian built a lead in the fourth only to blow it.
2018 semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas breezed into the second round beating Salvatore Caruso 6-0, 6-2, 6-3.
“I came in not as the favorite, and I remember winning every single match in four sets,” said Tsitsipas. “I feel number four was my favorite number, but I’m glad I didn’t have go four sets today.
“Last year was outstanding. I get goosebumps just thinking about what I went through, and I hope for something similar this year or even better.”
Next will be Philipp Kohlschreiber who got upgraded from the rain to indoors on Melbourne and beat-up on Marcus Giron in straights.
US Open finalist Matteo Berrettini buried Aussie wildcard Andrew Harris and Sam Querrey sunk Borna Coric in 3.
Grigor Dimitrov and Dan Evans, who came from 2 sets down against MacKenzie McDonald, also won.
On Tuesday, Rafael Nadal returns to Slam play and this time he’s within one of Federer.
Dominic Thiem, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and the Big 3 Russians of Daniil Medvedev, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev will be on court.
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