World No.1 Novak Djokovic began his chase of a record breaking third consecutive Australian Open by defeating Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2 6-4 7-5 in Melbourne on Monday.
Djokovic raced out to an 4-1 first set advantage before serving out the match against a former top 12 player in Mathieu.
Djokovic wasn’t dominant, Mathieu was far more competitive after the opening set, but he was nevertheless impressive. The Serbian improved his Australia Open win-loss record to 33-5 as he moves onto play young American Ryan Harrison in the second round.
Women’s third seed Venus Williams made short work of world No.80 Galina Voskoboeva, crushing her Kazakhstani opponent 6-1 6-0 in just an hour of play.
The 32-year-old Williams is recovering from a fall in the world standings after suffering from Sjorgen’s Syndrome in 2011, a debilitating condition of the immune system. She is currently world No.24.
Maria Sharapova was equally as impressive in her opener; she dispatched of fellow Russian Olga Puchkova in under an hour 6-0 6-0.
The world No.2 looked fine after withdrawing from the Brisbane International a fortnight ago.
Sharapova has a third round date with Williams scheduled should they both cruise through the second round as easily as they did the first.
Australian Sam Stosur overcame her worries on home soil by defeating birthday girl Kai-Chen Chang.
Stosur was far from her best and the result wasn't overly convincing, but the ninth seed eventually walked away with a 7-6 (3) 6-3 victory. She had lost her previous four matches in Australia and struggled at times with Chang’s backhand, but was far more confident in the second set after narrowly taking out the first.
Remarkably, this is the first time the veteran Stosur has made it out of the first round of the Australian Open.
Sixth seed Li Na had no troubles defeating Kazahkstan’s Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1 6-3. She hit 21 winners in an aggressive display.
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