Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal beats Victor Estrella Burgos in first round


Rafael Nadal and Victor Estrella Burgos share a joke at the end of their match
2018 Australian Open
Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.

World number one Rafael Nadal powered into the Australian Open second round with a routine win over the Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos.

The Spaniard, who had not played a tournament match since suffering a knee injury in November, won 6-1 6-1 6-1.

“I’m very happy to be back, it’s a very important beginning for me,” he said.

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov and in-form Australian Nick Kyrgios also advanced, but eighth seed Jack Sock was one of 10 American men and women to lose.

Sock went down 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-3 to world number 41 Yuichi Sugita, and 16th seed John Isner lost 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-3 to Australia’s Matthew Ebden.

Venus Williams, US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe were all knocked out of the women’s event.

Nadal, aiming for a 17th Grand Slam title and a second in Australia, was hampered by a knee injury at the end of the 2017 season.

It forced him to miss this month’s Brisbane International, and he only had a one-match workout at the exhibition Kooyong Classic before heading into the first Grand Slam event of the year.

But the Spaniard, who was beaten by Roger Federer in last year’s final, got off to a perfect start and raced to victory in 94 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena.

The world number one will play Leonardo Mayer of Argentina next.

Bulgarian Dimitrov, 26, went through with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Austrian Dennis Novak in one hour 38 minutes.

Kyrgios is the top-seeded Australian in the men’s draw at 17, and the 22-year-old, who won the Brisbane title earlier in the month, enjoyed a straightforward 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva.

Croatia’s sixth seed Marin Cilic beat Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil 6-2 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-5).

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