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Nadal, Sharapova advance in straight sets at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal has ignored a large number of tennis since closing September. He hasn’t ignored a beat.

The No. 2-seeded Nadal had a 6-Four, 6-Three, 7-Five win over Australian wild-card access James Duckworth on Monday within the first around of the Australian Open, his first fit again on Rod Laver Area since he needed to retire right through his quarterfinal fit closing 12 months.

The 17-time primary winner hasn’t performed since retiring from his semifinal on the U.S. Open as a result of a knee damage, after which had surgical procedure on his proper ankle in November. He additionally withdrew from a tune-up match in Brisbane as a result of a muscle pressure in his thigh, basically as a precaution, to make sure he’s have compatibility for the season-opening primary.

“Now not simple to come back again after a large number of months of pageant, particularly in opposition to a participant taking part in tremendous competitive each shot,” Nadal mentioned. “It’s very tough to start out after an damage — I realize it really well. It’s very particular to be again.”

Dressed in a sleeveless most sensible, he confirmed no indicators of any problems in opposition to Duckworth. His handiest hiccup got here when he served for the fit within the 9th recreation of the 0.33 set and was once damaged at love. He returned the choose in no time, even though, to seal his spot in the second one around.

Nadal has handiest misplaced two times within the first around at Grand Slams — to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon, and to Fernando Verdasco right here in 2016 — and is aiming to be the primary guy within the Open generation two win all 4 majors no less than two times.

Maria Sharapova was once the primary of 5 Australian Open winners to play on Rod Laver Area on Day 1, beginning with a 6-Zero, 6-Zero win over Harriet Dart. No. 2-ranked Angelique Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open champion, opened with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Polona Hercog.

Sharapova has the second-best document amongst lively girls’s gamers in first-round fits on the majors, and she or he gave a demonstration of why that’s the case in a 63-minute disposal of Dart.

The 2008 champion is making her 15th travel to Melbourne Park and her 55th Grand Slam match, and she or he’s conscious about the toll that the solar and lengthy early fits could have on a participant’s name ambitions, so she will get directly to trade.

Stung through a first-round loss at Wimbledon closing 12 months, Sharapova mentioned she couldn’t manage to pay for to really feel any empathy for Dart.

“I imply, there’s no time for that, I’m sorry to mention … while you’re taking part in the primary around of a Grand Slam,” mentioned Sharapova, who remains to be feeling ache in her proper shoulder in spite of sitting out the top of closing season after the U.S. Open. “I feel I used to be simply all for no longer having a letdown.

“I feel it’s really easy to be able the place issues are flowing, you understand, you’re doing the entire proper issues, she’s making a couple of mistakes, you’re relaxed, simple to get complacent, and, you understand, complacency isn’t nice. I used to be happy that I did the suitable issues from the start until the top.”

Additionally advancing have been 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 19 Caroline Garcia, No. 29 Donna Vekic and No. 31 Petra Martic.

Danielle Collins complex to the second one around of a big for the primary time following a 2-6, 7-6 (Five), 6-Four win over No. 14-seeded Julia Goerges, who received the name in Auckland to start out the season.

Katie Boulter earned the consideration of successful the primary 10-point tiebreaker beneath the Australian Open’s new device for deciding units, and she or he celebrated two times.

Boulter beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-Zero, Four-6, 7-6 (6), together with 10-6 within the tiebreaker. Boulter began celebrating and went to the web when she reached 7-Four within the tiebreaker, forgetting it wasn’t a standard depend.

The brand new rule was once offered to make sure fits don’t get too long — prior to now the 0.33 set in girls’s fits and the 5th set in males’s fits on the Australian Open needed to be determined through a two-game benefit.

5th-seeded Kevin Anderson received his first fit at Melbourne Park since 2015 when he beat Adrian Mannarino 6-Three, Five-7, 6-2, 6-1. Additionally advancing at the males’s facet have been No. 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili, No. 20 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 26 Fernando Verdasco.

Protecting champions Caroline Wozniacki and Roger Federer have been scheduled to play night time fits later Monday.


Extra AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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