Home Editors' Picks Nadal dominates Dellien to reach Australian Open second round
Nadal dominates Dellien to reach Australian Open second round
MELBOURNE — Rafael Nadal hit the ground running at the Australian Open on Tuesday by hammering unseeded Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 to reach the second round.
The top seeded Spaniard has never lost to a player ranked as low as world number 72 Dellien at the year’s first Grand Slam and was never in danger on a sunbathed afternoon at Rod Laver Arena.
Bidding for his second title at Melbourne Park, and 20th Grand Slam trophy to match his great rival Roger Federer, Nadal was broken twice by the hard-working Dellien.
But the 33-year-old Mallorcan was virtually flawless in the final set and sealed the match with a crushing forehand winner to set up a second-round clash with either Federico Delbonis or Joao Sousa.
SHARAPOVA VANQUISHED BY VEKIC IN FIRST ROUND
Former champion Maria Sharapova put up a mid-match fight before bowing out of the Australian Open at the first hurdle on Tuesday, beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Croatian Donna Vekic on Rod Laver Arena.
The 32-year-old Russian was clearly still hampered by the shoulder injury that had restricted her to one previous competitive outing since her opening-round exit at last year’s US Open.
Vekic proved a formidable opponent on the court where Sharapova won the title in 2008 and the 19th seed raced to a 5-1 lead in the opening set before the former world number one found a way to get back into the contest.
Sharapova made Vekic work hard to close out the set and took a 4-1 lead in the second but was unable to maintain her momentum, losing the last five games to make her earliest exit from Melbourne Park since 2010.
BRITISH NUMBER ONE KONTA FELLED BY JABEUR
British number one Johanna Konta tumbled out in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday with a comprehensive 6-4, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Tunisia’s world number 78 Ons Jabeur.
The 12th seed, clearly not yet match fit on her return from a knee injury that cut short her 2019 season, went down in just over an hour on number one court in a match washed out on Monday by rain.
A semifinalist at Melbourne Park four years ago and Roland Garros last year, Konta sprayed 19 unforced errors and struggled to hold her serve throughout the contest.
Jabeur, who beat Konta in two sets at Eastbourne last year, secured her fourth break of serve to win the contest when the Briton overcooked a backhand return.
The Tunisian will next face Madison Brengle or Caroline Garcia. — Reuters