Australian Open Day 1: Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams and other top stories
A brief round-up of Day 1 of the Australian Open.
World No.1 Rafael Nadal sailed past Estrella Burgos in an emphatic 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 take-down. Back in a sleeveless T-shirt after a decade with his bulging biceps on full display, the Spaniard seems to have put his injury troubles behind him with no visible taping on his knees.
Nadal's movements were unhindered as he unleashed forehand after forehand to subdue his unfortunate opponent. At the end of the match though, the two players shared a warm moment at the net and they both left the court with smiles. Nadal will face 52nd-ranked Argentine Leonardo Mayer in the second round.
American horror story
American players fell one after the other with the biggest upset being that of last year's finalist Venus Williams. Belinda Bencic continued her great start to the year after winning the Hopman's Cup for Switzerland and beat Venus 6-3 7-5.
Compatriots Coco Vandeweghe and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens crashed out too while in the men's draw, 8th seed Jack Sock and big-serving John Isner were among the major casualties.
Nick Kyrgios shook off injury concerns to dismantle Dutra Silva in straight sets and Daria Gavrilova blasted past Irina Falconi in a 6-1 6-1 drubbing. While it was unheralded Matthew Ebden who pulled a huge upset by beating John Isner, local hearts broke when Sam Stosur squandered a match point as she went down to Monica Puig in three sets.
However, John Millman gave the home fans more to cheer about as he brushed aside promising youngster Borna Coric in three sets.
Other notable results
Amongst the top ten seeds Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Pablo Carreno Busta all won their opening encounters and so did Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina and Jelena Ostapenko. There was a battle of generations as 20-year-old Andy Rublev downed a very stubborn David Ferrer, who is 15 years his senior at 35. The score was 7-5, 6-7, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2.
Two teenagers faced each other as Canadian sensation Denis Shapovalov defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-1 6-3 7-6. A formidable Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awaits him in what should be an entertaining second round match-up. U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson was upset in five sets by a spirited Kyle Edmund who keeps the British hopes up in the absence of Andy Murray