Rafael Nadal blazes through to Australian Open second round

Roger Federer lifts the Australian Open trophy after beating Rafael Nadal in 2017

The 2009 victor had pulled out of the Brisbane International warm-up with a thigh strain but showed no signs of the problem in his opener, hammering his opponent to set up a meeting with Matthew Ebden or Jan-Lennard Struff next.

"Today he went on court with the determination to not play tennis the way that, you know, I understand tennis", Nadal said in his post-match press conference. "It's very hard to start after an injury - I know it very well".

Wearing a sleeveless top, he showed no signs of any issues against Duckworth.

Nadal, who is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era, and only the third man ever, to win each of the four Grand Slams twice, ran his opponent down with his superior court coverage and ability to hit winners under pressure.

Sharapova, the champion in 2008, takes on unseeded Harriet Dart in her first match since withdrawing because of a thigh injury in Shenzhen.

And can Sharapova regain the forehand potency that made her a multiple Grand Slam champion?

"When I get broken was not because of the serve", said the second seed who dished up just a single double fault.

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"I feel good. If I am not feeling good, I will not be here", he said ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.

Stung by a first-round loss at Wimbledon previous year, Sharapova said she couldn't afford to feel any empathy for Dart.

"I'm just excited. I think it's a positive to be here as the defending champion".

"And, you know, trust that that's going to pay dividends for me in the future". "I was glad that I did the right things from the beginning till the end". A year later, Laver presented the trophy to Roger following that extraordinary win over Rafael Nadal, getting another opportunity to come and enjoy in the Swiss' first match of this year's campaign in the night session on the Rod Laver Arena.

Danielle Collins advanced to the second round of a major for the first time following a 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over No. 14-seeded Julia Goerges, who won the title in Auckland to start the season.

Fifth seed Kevin Anderson also progressed against Adrian Mannarino, with last year's Wimbledon finalist through 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.

Britain's Katie Boulter, meanwhile, created a slice of history by becoming the first woman to win in a third set tiebreak -- a new rule introduced to the Open this year. She went on to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (10/6). Also advancing on the men's side were No. 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili and No. 26 Fernando Verdasco.

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