Nadal into second round but Sharapova goes out

Nadal into second round but Sharapova goes out

Nadal into second round but Sharapova goes out

Written by Reuters

21 Jan, 2020 | 6:37 pm

Reuters: Rafa Nadal hit the ground running at the Australian Open on Tuesday (January 21) 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.

Former champion Maria Sharapova put up a mid-match fight before bowing out of the Australian Open at the first hurdle, 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 U.S. 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.

Dominic Thiem opened his Australian Open campaign with a 6-3 7-5 6-2 win over France’s Adrian Mannarino.

The fifth seed wobbled midway through the second set when he was broken and allowed Mannarino to level at 4-4, but the 26-year-old Austrian recovered quickly, proving strong in the longer rallies, including a 28-shot stunner, to break Mannarino’s serve towards the end of the set.

Thiem sealed victory with his seventh ace after two hours and 21 minutes to set up a meeting with either Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas or Australian wildcard Alex Bolt.

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