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Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer ease into second round on opening day of Australian Open

  Monday 16th January 2012

The first Grand Slam event of the season and a brand new year of tennis kicked off today with the Australian Open in Melbourne. Former winners Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters both took part in day one of the prestigious event.

In the men’s game, world number two Rafael Nadal eased into the second round with a straight sets victory against Alex Kuznetsov of the USA. The Spaniard triumphed 6-4 6-1 6-1 in a comfortable afternoon’s work, despite needing heavy strapping on his knee.

Four-times champion Roger Federer began his Australian Open bid with a routine victory in Melbourne.

Nadal completed his success in one hour 46 minutes, breaking his opponent’s service game six times during the afternoon. The former world number one will now face German Tommy Haas in the second round.

After a bright start from qualifier Alexander Kudryavtsev, Roger Federer also won in a relatively straightforward fashion, beating the Russian 7-5 6-2 6-2. Federer now awaits a meeting with Andreas Beck, the German who succeeded in four sets against Frenchman Eric Prodon on court seven.

There were also wins for Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro. Seventh seed Berdych triumphed 7-5 4-6 6-2 6-3 over Spaniard Albert Ramos, whilst Del Potro battled back from being a set down early on and overcame Adrian Mannarino 2-6 6-1 7-5 6-4.

In the women’s tennis, world number one Caroline Wozniacki overcame Aussie Anastasia Rodionova. Despite having previously suffered a wrist injury, Danish Wozniacki cruised to a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win.

Defending champion Clijsters, of Belgium, was forced to battle hard against qualifier Maria Joao Koehler, but prevailed with a 7-5 6-1 victory.

Wozniacki now plays Georgian Anna Tatishvili, whilst Clijsters will face Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France. If successful, the Dane and the Belgian could potentially meet at the quarter-final stage, and both will be happy with the way their Australian Open campaigns have started.

Meanwhile, nineteenth seed Flavia Pennetta found herself on the wrong end of an upset, losing 6-3 1-6 6-2 to Russia’s Nina Bratchikova.

Derek Baker

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