Melbourne: Rafael Nadal and Elina Svitolina ruthlessly brushed aside Victor Estrella Burgos and Ivana Jorovic respectively to power into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.
World No 1 Nadal, a beaten finalist to Roger Federer in Melbourne last year, clinically took apart the 81st-ranked Dominican to forge a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win in 94 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena.
He next plays Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
"I'm very happy to be back, it's a very important beginning for me. It's good news for me," he said.
"I want to enjoy every moment I'm here on this court."
The Spaniard left nothing to chance with eight service breaks and 28 winners in a complete first-up performance, dispelling fears over any knee trouble.
Nadal, 31, wore no strapping on his knee, appeared to move freely and combined his trademark power game from the back of the court.
It took his Australian Open record to 52-11 as he chases his second Melbourne Park title after beating Federer in the 2009 final.
Nadal, who is gunning for a 17th major title, was hampered by a knee injury at the tail-end of the 2017 season.
It forced him to skip the lead-up Brisbane International this month, and he only had a one-match workout at the exhibition Kooyong Classic in Melbourne ahead of the Open.
Nadal needs to reach the quarter-finals to be certain of retaining his World No 1 ranking, with Federer breathing down his neck.
Nadal only conceded three games in the match and had few problems with Estrella Burgos, who has a modest 6-15 record at Grand Slams.
Fourth seed Svitolina stormed into the second round with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of the Serbian qualifier.
The Ukrainian only stuttered slightly once the finish line was in sight, squandering four match points at 5-2 before closing out when a powerful forehand drive forced her opponent to hit wide after 72 minutes.
She will next face Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic who overcame Greece's Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4.
Svitolina came into the first Grand Slam of the year in top form after winning the Brisbane International warm-up event after picking up five WTA Tour titles last year, more than any other woman.
And she will fancy her chances of picking up a first career Grand Slam title after her half of the draw saw a slew of top names go out on a calamitous day for America's top women in Melbourne.
Fifth seed Venus Williams, 10th seed CoCo Vandeweghe and 13th seed and reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens all made early exits.
Kyrgios handed code violation
Australia's big hope Nick Kyrgios toyed with opponent Rogerio Dutra Silva to storm into the second round, collecting a code violation along the way.
The 17th seeded Kyrgios was on autopilot throughout as he disposed of the 100th-ranked Brazilian 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in 87 minutes.
He played a flawless opening set but that didn't stop him from receiving a code violation early in the match.
Kyrgios was serving for a 4-1 lead when he told a member of the crowd to keep quiet during his service motion in colourful language that did not go down well with the chair umpire.
Kyrgios and the umpire exchanged words during the changeover after the Australian had taken the opening set for the loss of one game in just 28 minutes.
"All you have to do is say 'please be quiet when the player is serving'," Kyrgios told the umpire.
"If you did it the first time, he wouldn't have done it the second time, correct? Correct?"
The Brazilian stopped a losing run of seven straight games to get on the board in the second set to a roar from the festive crowd.
But Kyrgios swept through the second set in just 23 minutes and again broke the Brazilian in the seventh game of the final set to close out the match.
Published Date: Jan 15, 2018 16:08 PM | Updated Date: Jan 15, 2018 16:08 PM