Sports

Nadal flies into Open round two as Kerber issues warning

Nadal flies into Open round two as Kerber issues warning

The South African, a runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon past year, had failed to reach the second round at Melbourne Park since 2015, but made no mistake this time round.

Rafael Nadal has missed a lot of tennis since last September.

A ruthless Rafael Nadal showed no mercy in a clinical first round thumping at the Australian Open Monday with fellow former champions Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova also romping through.

Nadal pulled out of his US Open semi against Juan Martin del Potro due to knee pain before undergoing ankle surgery in November.

"Not easy to come back after a lot of months, especially against a player playing super aggressive on every point", the 32-year-old Spaniard said at the press conference.

"And in general terms, I am happy about the victory of today against, as I said before, a very hard opponent to play". "It's very special to be back".

His only stumble as he served for the match and was broken by Duckworth, who got back to 5-4. He returned the favor quickly, though, to seal his spot in the second round.

The 22-year-old Dart, playing in the main draw of a major for only the second time after getting a wildcard to play last year at Wimbledon, only got a look at one break point in the match - when Sharapova served a double-fault in the second set.

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"I mean, there is no time for that, I'm sorry to say", the 2008 victor said.

The Spanish second seed is bidding to become the first man in the Open era, and only third in history along with Roy Emerson and Rod Laver, to win each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.

" You know, there is no doubt that my level wasn't where I wanted it to be, but she was there to take the match."

Stung by a first-round loss at Wimbledon past year, Sharapova said she couldn't afford to feel any empathy for Dart.

"You keep working and put your head down and kind of disappear once I leave here and just work", he told reporters.

Fifth seed Kevin Anderson also progressed against Adrian Mannarino, with last year's Wimbledon finalist a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 victor. She went on to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (10/6). Also advancing on the men's side were No. 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili and No. 26 Fernando Verdasco.

Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki open their Australian Open title defences Monday as Andy Murray takes to the court for what could be his farewell match at Melbourne Park and potentially his last ever.


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