Nadal into round two, Ker­ber is­sues warn­ing

The Freeman - - SPORTS -

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.

The 17-time Grand Slam win­ner, who cut short his 2018 sea­son to have surgery on a foot in­jury, cruised into round two of the year's open­ing ma­jor 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 against Aus­tralian wild­card James Duck­worth.

"Not easy to come back after a lot of months, es­pe­cially against a player play­ing su­per ag­gres­sive on ev­ery point," said the 2009 Aus­tralian cham­pion, who showed no sign of any in­jury wor­ries.

"The en­ergy I feel in this place is fan­tas­tic," he added.

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.

Fifth seed Kevin An­der­son also pr ogressed against Adrian Man­nar­ino, with last year's Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 win­ner. Nex­tGen Fi­nals cham­pion Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas also went through in four sets.

Women's sec­ond seed An­gelique Ker­ber swept past Slove­nia's Polona Hercog 6-2, 6-2, with the Wim­ble­don cham­pion pro­duc­ing a clin­i­cal dis­play to launch her cam­paign at a tour­na­ment she won in 2016.

"We now have 2019 and I try to con­tinue to play how I did last year," said the three-time Grand Slam win­ner.

Shara­pova, a win­ner at Mel­bourne Park in 2008, sig­nalled her in­tent with a rare 6-0, 6-0 dou­ble bagel de­mo­li­tion of Bri­tain's Har­riet Dart, who ended the match in tears.

Play­ing in her 15th Aus­tralian Open, the three­time fi­nal­ist said she was pleased to go through so eas­ily as she bat­tles back from in­juries.

"It was a good test for my leg, for my shoul­der," she said.

"I'm still work­ing through some painful days. But, you know, I felt like I did all the right things to­day in or­der to get through that match."

Fifth seeded Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open cham­pion who strug­gled in her warm-up tour­na­ments in Bris­bane and Syd­ney, got back to busi­ness with an easy two-set win against fel­low Amer­i­can Tay­lor Townsend.

Eleventh seed Aryna Sa­balenka, widely tipped as a po­ten­tial fu­ture cham­pion, also safely ne­go­ti­ated round one on a hot day.

But Ger­many's 14th seed Ju­lia Go­erges, who won the re­cent Auck­land Clas­sic, crashed out, as did for­mer French Open cham­pion Je­lena Ostapenko.

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