News ID: 280511
Published: 0305 GMT February 08, 2021

Djokovic opens title defense at Australian Open with easy win

Djokovic opens title defense at Australian Open with easy win
REUTERS

Novak Djokovic started the defense of his Australian Open title by dropping just six games in a dominant win over France's Jeremy Chardy in Melbourne.

The Serbian top seed eased to a 6-3 6-1 6-2 victory to extend his 100 percent winning record against Chardy to 14 matches, BBC reported.

Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem, German sixth seed Alexander Zverev and Australia's Nick Kyrgios also won.

But French 10th seed Gael Monfils broke into tears after being on the receiving end of the biggest shock so far.

There appeared little danger of world number one Djokovic suffering an upset on Monday once the draw was made — and so it proved.

Chardy had never won a set against the 17-time Grand Slam champion and it was another chastening experience for the 33-year-old.

Djokovic, who is aiming for a record-extending ninth title at Melbourne Park, hit cleanly and confidently in a one-sided win on Rod Laver Arena.

"There is an ongoing love affair with me and this court. I wanted to start off well," said Djokovic, who is set to pass Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks as the world number one next month.

"I have been fortunate, without a doubt, to experience a lot of success and break records in our sport that I obviously love and am very passionate about it.

"I am always motivated and inspired to achieve big goals and break records. I would lie if I say that's not something that I'm thinking about or that my attention is not going that way.

"I have been very transparent about the fact one of the biggest goals is to try to reach the number one of all time weeks' record, and I'm getting closer and closer to that one.

"That's a kind of a lifetime achievement for me."

 

'Special' atmosphere

 

On what he also describes his favorite court, Kyrgios was at his entertaining best on John Cain Arena as he beat Portuguese qualifier Frederico Ferreira Silva.

The home fans watching on court enjoyed seeing the 25-year-old produce some fun and effective tennis — as well as some audible frustrations directed at his team — in a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win.

An audacious drop-shot winner from between his legs as he approached victory in the third set was a particular highlight and led to a standing ovation from the socially distanced fans.

On the atmosphere, Kyrgios told the crowd: "It was special, I'm super appreciative of you guys coming out and it felt normal. I hope we can continue it.

"I thought my level was pretty average, I've not played a Grand Slam match in over a year.

"I was nervous and knew I wouldn't be able to play anywhere near my best. I'm happy I got through."

Germany's Alexander Zverev overcame some early frustration to fight back and beat American Marcos Giron.

The sixth seed destroyed a racquet after failing to serve out the second set to level, but took the tiebreak and won 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2.

Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem, last year's beaten finalist, started his bid to go a step better with a relatively straightforward win over Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.

US Open champion Thiem needed a tiebreak to clinch the opening set before taking control to win 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 6-3.

Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian 11th seed, took almost four hours to overcome Italian 19-year-old Jannik Sinner, winning 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4.

The 21-year-old praised the role of his mother and coach, Tessa, after his victory.

"It's great to have my mom here, she is the one that put a racquet in my hands and it's great we have been able to go so far together," he said.

French 10th seed Gael Monfils broke into tears after being on the receiving end of the biggest shock so far.

Monfils, 34, lost in five sets to 21-year-old Emi Ruusuvuori of Finland.

"I lost, I have zero confidence, I played badly," said Monfils, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist.

"I know that I have lost a lot and it hurts me. I would like to wake up and tell myself that this nightmare is over, but I don't know when it will stop."

Swiss 17th seed Stan Wawrinka, who won the title in 2014, made light work of Portugal's Pedro Sousa, winning 6-3 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes.

Canadian 14th seed Milos Raonic also raced through his opening match, beating Argentina's Federico Coria in a 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory that was one minute faster than Wawrinka's.

 

Women’s competitions

 

Serena Williams launched her latest bid for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam with a 56-minute demolition of Laura Siegemund at the Australian Open.

The American, 39, said it was "vintage Serena" as she thrashed the German 6-1 6-1 in front of a small, unmasked crowd on Rod Laver Arena.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka also made a convincing start with a 6-1 6-2 win over Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

But former champion Angelique Kerber was the first seed to be knocked out.

The German 23rd seed, who was one of 72 players to spend 14 days in 'hard' quarantine before the tournament — confined to a hotel room and unable to train outside — was beaten 6-0 6-4 by American Bernarda Pera.

American 24th seed Alison Riske, who also did the hard quarantine, lost 6-2 6-1 to Russian world number 101 Anastasia Potapova.

 

 

   
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Resource: BBC
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