New Delhi: Australian Open 2018 saw a thrilling day with unexpected results. Starting with the Men’s singles then, Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal opened his campaign with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic.
The top-ranked and top-seeded Nadal wrapped up the win in 94 minutes to send a warning to the rest of the men’s singles field.
Nadal, who had won both the US Open and the French Open in 2017, dominated the match from the very first point and built up a 5-0 advantage in all three sets over his rival.
Burgos managed to hold his serve only once in the first set, which 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal sealed in 23 minutes. In the second set, Nadal lost his serve once in the sixth game after squandering two set points, but he recovered quickly to secure the set on Burgos’ serve.
Nadal continued to dominate the third set, again allowing his rival to hold serve only once.
This was Nadal’s first competitive match after his withdrawal from the 2017 ATP Finals in London due to a right knee injury.
In the second round, Nadal is scheduled to face Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, who defeated Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.
Sixth-seed Marin Cilic of Croatia also advanced to the second round, defeating Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5).
Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov opened his account in the tournament with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak. World No.3 Dimitrov needed one hour and 38 minutes to prevail over the player 220 spots lower than him on the ATP rankings in their first-ever meeting.
The 24-year-old Novak committed a total 21 unforced errors compared to just 12 winners, handing his rival 14 breakpoints, out of which, Dimitrov seized on 6 and was able to save the two he presented the Austrian.
Dimitrov is scheduled to play either the United States’ Mackenzie McDonald or Sweden’s Elias Ymer in the second round.
Elsewhere, Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta, the 10th seed, prevailed over Australian wildcard Jason Kubler 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, while American John Isner, seeded 16th, was stunned by Australian Matthew Ebden 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
In another upset in men’s singles, Briton Kyle Edmund stunned South African Kevin Anderson, the 11th seed, 6-7 (4-7) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Earlier, India’s Yuki Bhambri, who qualified for the main draw of Australian open for the third time, failed to progress as he lost to Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets. Bhambri’s unforced errors cost him the match 6-7(4) 4-6 3-6 after two hours and nine minutes on court number eight.
Meanwhile, women’s singles section saw a major upset as former champion Venus Williams crashed out after losing to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the first round.
Placed 78th in the world rankings, Bencic defeated the American star 6-3, 7-5 in a match that lasted one hour and 53 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena.
The world number 5 American struggled to find her rhythm in the rain-interrupted match, dropping the first set.
Although Williams fared better in the second, the in-form Swiss hitter outplayed the American and sealed the victory after breaking serve in the final game. Also, it’s the first time since 1997 that the Australian Open will not feature either of the Williams sisters in the second round after Serena withdrew from the tournament at the start of the month following her pregnancy.
Bencic will face the winner of the match between Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum and Johanna Larsson of Sweden in the second round.
Elsewhere, former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark eased past Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets, avoiding more upsets in the first round of the women’s singles competition.
Currently ranked World No.2, Wozniacki had her serve broken three times during the 71-minute match on Monday, but made the most of all six break points she was offered to carve out a 6-2, 6-3 result.
The 29-year-old Buzarnescu committed 21 unforced errors compared to just seven by Wozniacki, who is yet to win a Grand Slam title.
Take a quick look at some of the other Day 1 results here:
Among the men’s seeds to fall, were:
John Isner (16), beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 by Matthew Ebden
Kevin Anderson (11), beaten 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Kyle Edmund
Lucas Pouille (18), beaten 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 by Ruben Bemelmans
Philipp Kohlschreiber (27), beaten 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 by Yoshi Nishioka
Jack Sock (8), beaten 6-1, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 by Yuchi Sugita
Among the women’s seeds to fall, were:
Venus Williams (5), beaten 6-3, 7-5 by Belinda Bencic
Ekaterina Makarova (31), beaten 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 by Irina Begu
Sloane Stephens (13), beaten 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 by Shuai Zhang
Dominika Cibulkova (24), beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Kaia Kanepi
Coco Vandeweghe (10), beaten 7-6, 6-2 by Timea Babos
Meanwhile, day two of the tournament promises to be exciting as well, as the six-time Australian Open winner, Novak Djokovic will take on world No63 American Donald Young, while in the evening Roger Federer will lock horns with Slovenian, Aljaz Bedene. In the women’s singles, former world no. 1 Maria Sharapova will play against Tatjana Maria. (With IANS inputs)