Australian Open: Novak Djokovic defeats Roberto Carballes Baena to make winning start in Melbourne | Tennis News


Novak Djokovic began his quest for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 6-0 victory over Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

There had been serious concerns over Djokovic’s fitness with his upper left leg heavily strapped during practice, but the former world No 1 allayed any fears by dismantling the world No 75 under the roof on Rod Laver Arena.

Alexander Zverev secured his first Grand Slam win since he was forced to retire injured at last year’s French Open

Alexander Zverev survived a scare against lucky loser Juan Pablo Varillas to prevail 4-6 6-1 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in over four hours.

The German earned his first Grand Slam win since he was forced to retire in the French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal after rolling his ankle and tearing ligaments.

Taylor Fritz fired 32 aces in his 6-4 6-2 4-6 7-5 victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili to move through, but the American’s next big challenge is persuading his girlfriend to let him to play video games.

“I’m gonna get lots of hours of recovery after the match, make sure I’m feeling good, maybe get some dinner and possibly play some video games if my girlfriend lets me,” Fritz said with a smile.

World No 6 Andrey Rublev enjoyed a 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over 2020 finalist Dominic Thiem in just over two hours to earn his first victory of the season.

“I know that he’s going through not easy times. I wish him to come back to the level he can be at as fast as possible,” Rublev said of US Open champion Thiem, who is coming back from a debilitating wrist injury.

In a rematch of the 2021 quarter-final, Grigor Dimitrov beat Aslan Karatsev 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-2 in a first-round battle between the former semi-finalists.

Danish teenager Holger Rune, the ninth seed, breezed through with a 6-2 6-3 6-4 win over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic.

Australia’s Alex de Minaur eased into the next round with a 6-2 6-2 6-3 win over Taiwan’s Hsu Yu-hsiou.

Kyrgios targets Roland Garros return

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Nick Kyrgios described having to withdraw from his home Grand Slam with a knee injury as ‘brutal’

Nick Kyrgios was forced to pull out of his home Gran Slam due to a knee injury but the Australian said he hopes to play at the French Open for the first time since 2017, with an eye on a return to the Tour in March at Indian Wells.

“I’ll definitely have ‘French Open’ circled on my calendar,” Kyrgios told The Age.

“I think I’m as motivated as ever. I was ready for the AO (Australian Open). I’m just going to use this as fuel.”


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