The Australian Open got off to a rousing start Monday in Melbourne.
Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic rolled Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 in his opener. The Serb is now 14-0 against Chardy, 33-0 in sets.
“It felt great,” said Djokovic. “I started the match really well. Broke his serve and, pretty much flawless match, especially on my service games. I was very dominant. I went very quickly through my service games. I think every shot that I executed tonight was really good and on a high level. I’m very pleased with the way I opened up the Australian Open.
“I felt really relaxed and comfortable on the court tonight, so I could allow myself to try out some things and come to net. But I thought I was very solid and didn’t allow him to have time to try to do something with his forehand.”
Former champion Stan Wawrinka also cruised into the second round. He stayed perfect in Australian Open openers with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Pedro Sousa.
Alexander Zverev got off to a rocky start before getting into gear with a win over Miron Giron 6-7(8), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-2.
“He played incredibly well and played really well on the big stage against a Top 10 player,” said Zverev who made the US Open finals. “He had me on the ropes and the second set could have gone either way. I didn’t want to go two sets down. I am happy to get through and in the end I played better. The first round of a Slam is never easy.”
Dominic Thiem toughed out a first set then cruised past Mikael Kukushkin 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-3.
“He played well,” said Thiem. “The first set was very, very close. One set point… and that was the key point. I needed some time to get used to the fast and quick conditions, but in general it was a great first round of a Grand Slam… It’s super nice that there is a crowd, and it was a nice atmosphere today. I definitely felt nerves because it was a long time until the Slam.”
Grigor Dimitrov, Pablo Carreno Busta, Americans Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Frances Tiafoe were also winners. Australian bad boys Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic were winners.
Gael Monfils suffered an emotional 5-set loss to Emil Ruusuvuori.
Canadians also had a huge days with Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime advancing. And in the big night match, Denis Shapovalov outlasted teen Jannik Sinner in a thriller 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 snapping the Italian’s 10-match win streak.
“Matches like this are so much fun for me to play,” said Shapovalov told. “This is why I play the sport in front of fans like you guys, that are just so much fun for both guys. Win or lose, today is one of the matches that I am going to remember in my career, just because playing in one of these stadiums, the moment and the quality of tennis today, it was just so much fun to be out here.”
Said Sinner, “He served better than me today. There were some difficult points, especially in the first game of the fifth set. He returned good on some points and then he served quite well. There was not much difference between him and I.
“He deserved to win today.”
On Tuesday, Rafael Nadal will test his ailing back in his first match of 2021 as he takes on Serb Laslo Djere.
Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Stefanos Tsitsipas also open play.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN TUESDAY SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena – 11:00 AM
KENIN, Sofia (USA)  vs. INGLIS, Maddison (AUS)
BOUZKOVA, Marie (CZE) vs. SVITOLINA, Elina (UKR) 
DJERE, Laslo (SRB) vs. NADAL, Rafael (ESP) 
BARTY, Ashleigh (AUS)  vs. KOVINIC, Danka (MNE)
TSITSIPAS, Stefanos (GRE)  vs. SIMON, Gilles (FRA)
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