Djokovic opens Australian Open defense on winning note, downs Mathieu
Melbourne, Australia (4E Sports) – Novak Djokovic opened his title-retention bid on a winning note, defeating Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-2, 6-4, 7-5, in the opening round of the Australian Open Monday at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic did not disappoint in his season debut, winning 80 percent of his service points to beat the Frenchman in one hour and 42 minutes.
“It was a good performance for a first round,” said Djokovic, who is eyeing to become the first male in the Open Era to capture three straight Australian Open title.
Last year, the 25-year-old Serbian successfully retained the trophy by winning back-to-back thrillers over Andy Murray in the semifinals and Rafael Nadal in the longest Grand Slam final on record.
Djokovic will face American Ryan Harrison, who defeated Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, to win his first match in four attempts at the Australian Open.
Third seed Andy Murray joined Djokovic in the second round after beating Robin Haase, 6-3, 6-1, in his opening match.
Fourth seed David Ferrer dismissed Belgium’s Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 50 minutes by hitting 30 winners to just 17 unforced errors.
Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic dashed Lleyton Hewitt’s hopes of a dream run in his 17th Australian Open appearance, beating the 2005 finalist, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-3 in over three hours.
World No. 79 Andrey Kuznetsov ousted 11th-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco 7-6(3), 6-1, 6-1 in just under two hours to arrange a second-round clash with Kevin Anderson, who defeated Italian Paolo Lorenzi 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4.
Russian No. 23 seed Mikhail Youzhny eliminated Australian Matthew Ebden, 4-6, 6-7(0), 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-3 in just under four hours, while Jerzy Janowicz, the No. 24 seed from Poland, was a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Italy’s Simone Bolelli.
Marcos Baghdatis, the No. 28 seed, fired 21 aces and 61 winners to beat Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos, 6-7(0), 7-6(4), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in four hours and 15 minutes.
In other matches, Fernando Verdasco rallied past David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and 22 minutes to book his place in the second round.
Also advancing to the second round were 26th seed Jurgen Melzer, who overwhelmed Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who edged qualifier Ruben Bemelmans, 6-3, 6-7(5), 2-6, 7-5, 11-9.
On the women’s front, fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Australian wildcard Bojana Bobusic, 7-5, 6-0, to advance to the second round together with sixth seed and 2011 finalist Li Na, who beat Sesil Karatantcheva, 6-1, 6-3.
In other matches, fifth seed Angelique Kerber beat Elina Svitolina, 6-4, 6-2; ninth seed Samantha Stosur downed Kai-Chen Chang, 7-6 (3), 6-3; 22nd seed Jelena Jankovic defeated Johanna Larsson, 6-2, 6-1.
Also advancing to the next round were 13th seed Ana Ivanovic, who cruised past Melinda Czink, 6-2, 6-1 and 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova, who downed Australian Ashleigh Barty, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.
The only ranked player to fall on Day 1 was 32nd seed Mona Barthel , who was defeated by Ksenia Pervak, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.