Tennis

Nadal cruises into second round of Australian Open

tennis1Spaniard Rafael Nadal breezed to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Hugo Dellien of Bolivia on Tuesday in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The match, which lasted just over two hours, was the first for the top-seeded Nadal at Rod Laver Arena since he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final last year.

“It’s been a solid start. I think the third set was a great set. I think I played a very good level of tennis,” said Nadal, who is vying for his 20th major singles title to match Roger Federer for the men’s record.

“The first two, I played with a little more caution,” Nadal added. “… Just trying to play a solid game with not many mistakes.

“Then, of course, with an advantage in the score, I tried to play the way that I really believe I need to play if I want to have a positive result here.”

Nadal, 33, advanced to face Argentine Federico Delbonis, who posted a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over Joao Sousa of Portugal in two hours, 21 minutes to reach the second round for the second time.

Also on Tuesday, Australian Nick Kyrgios posted a 6-2, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1) victory over Italian Lorenzo Sonego. The 23rd-seeded Kyrgios recorded 14 aces in the match, a notable mark considering he is donating $200 for each one he delivers for the victims of the devastating wildfires on the continent.

Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis recorded the biggest upset of the day by outlasting 20th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Australian Alexei Popyrin advanced after 28th-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired following the third set of their match with Popyrin up two sets to one. Tsonga admitted after the match that he is being plagued by a back problem.

Also on Tuesday, fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev needed four sets to dispatch 2019 Australian Open quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe to advance to the second round. Medvedev was last year’s U.S. Open runner-up.

No. 12 Fabio Fognini of Italy rebounded from dropping the first two sets to post a 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over Reilly Opelka.

Other seeded winners: No. 5 Dominic Thiem of Austria, No. 7 Alexander Zverev of Germany, No. 9 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, 10th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils, No. 11 David Goffin of Belgium, No. 14 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 15 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, 16th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov, 17th-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev, No. 19 John Isner, No. 21 Frenchman Benoit Paire, 24th-seeded Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, No. 26 Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, No. 27 Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 29 Taylor Fritz, 31st-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland and 32nd-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada.

–Field Level Media

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