Australian Open 2018: Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova progress to 2nd round as Milos Raonic crashes out on Day 2

Defending champion Federer, rated as favourite to win his 20th Grand Slam title, made his entrance on Rod Laver Arena with a sizzling 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 lesson for Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene.

AFP January 16, 2018 20:21:59 IST
Australian Open 2018: Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova progress to 2nd round as Milos Raonic crashes out on Day 2

Melbourne: Flawless Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic stamped their mark on the Australian Open on Tuesday with focused former champion Maria Sharapova also successfully negotiating the first round after her drug ban.

Defending champion Federer, rated as favourite to win his 20th Grand Slam title, made his entrance on Rod Laver Arena with a sizzling 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 lesson for Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene.

Australian Open 2018 Roger Federer Maria Sharapova progress to 2nd round as Milos Raonic crashes out on Day 2

Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova are through to the second round of the Australian Open. AP

The second-seeded Swiss, who is coming off an extraordinary 2017, when he won a fifth Australian Open title and a record eighth at Wimbledon, was in total control.

"I was thinking a lot about what happened at the tournament last year because it was my favourite tournament of the whole season," said the 36-year-old, who beat Rafael Nadal in the 2017 final.

"I'm hoping for it to go well again."

Twelve-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic has been out of action for six months with an elbow injury, but he too looked the goods in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 demolition of American Donald Young.

Gunning for a seventh Australian Open title, he was glad to be back at the coal face, having missed the competitive edge.

"I wanted to start with the right intensity, which I have," he told the cheering crowd afterwards.

"I played perfect tennis in the first couple of sets and Donald came back in the third set."

Former Melbourne champion Stan Wawrinka also successfully returned from half a year on the sidelines after knee surgery, having only decided he was fit to play at the weekend.

With the temperatures heating up, he was pushed to four sets by Ricardas Berankis before prevailing 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2) in a tough workout he said was "proud" to come through.

World No 1 Simona Halep booked her place in round two, avoiding the first round exit that befell her in the past two years. But she made a meal of it against local hope Destanee Aiava.

Both the Romanian and her 17-year-old wildcard opponent needed on-court medical attention before the top seed ran out a battling 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 winner.

Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza, with heavy strapping on her injured right thigh, made her tournament bow with a laboured 6-3, 6-3 win over French wildcard Jessika Ponchet.

'Really meaningful'

Sharapova, still working her way back from a 15-month ban for taking the performance-enhancing substance meldonium in Australia in 2016, showed glimpses of the tennis that made her a five-time major winner.

The 2008 Melbourne Park champion, now ranked 48, beat Germany's Tatjana Maria 6-1, 6-4 in her first Australian Open match in two years.

"I cherish these moments. I love it here," said the Russian, who returned from her drugs ban in April last year.

"It's been a couple of years and I wanted it to be really meaningful to me."

Fellow former World No 1 Angelique Kerber, who won the tournament in 2016, was also impressive in dismissing Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0, 6-4.

"2017, I have said goodbye already, I am not looking back," she said after a forgettable last season that saw her relinquish the number one spot and slide down the rankings.

She is now on a 10-match win streak after a perfect early season.

Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova and eighth seed Caroline Garcia also progressed, in contrast to the other side of the draw that saw Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe crash out on Monday.

American woes continued with Madison Brengle sent packing by British ninth seed Johanna Konta.

Young gun Alexander Zverev, seeded four, Belgian seventh seed David Goffin, and dark horse Tomas Berdych were among the men to make it to the second round.

But Canada's Milos Raonic, who has made at least the last eight over the past three years in Melbourne, was bundled out by 86th-ranked Slovakian Lukas Lacko in four sets.

It was his earliest Grand Slam exit in seven years as he fights back from a wrist injury.

The Canadian was fighting to make up for lost time after wrist and calf injuries last year and an early exit at the lead-in Brisbane International tournament this month.

Lacko, who hasn't been beyond the third round in Melbourne, will play Argentina's Nicolas Kicker in the second round.

 

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Rafael Nadal's dominance in numbers: 13 French Opens over 15 years, 100-2 win-loss record and more
Sports

Rafael Nadal's dominance in numbers: 13 French Opens over 15 years, 100-2 win-loss record and more

Nadal, 34, claimed his 100th match win at Roland Garros against just two defeats since his 2005 debut. The Spaniard, the oldest champion in Paris since Andres Gimeno in 1972, claimed the title without dropping a set.

Novak Djokovic eyes childhood hero Pete Sampras' year-end world number one record in Vienna
Sports

Novak Djokovic eyes childhood hero Pete Sampras' year-end world number one record in Vienna

The 33-year-old Serb has been the top-ranked player at the end of a season five times: in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018.

'Well done Rafa, you deserve it': Roger Federer pays Twitter tribute to Rafael Nadal after record 2020 French Open win
Sports

'Well done Rafa, you deserve it': Roger Federer pays Twitter tribute to Rafael Nadal after record 2020 French Open win

Here's how Twitter reacted to Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal's record-extending win over Novak Djokovic at the 2020 French Open final!