Defending Champion Rafael Nadal won his opening match at the Australian Open against Britain’s Jack Draper on Monday. The great Spaniard has been far from his best in the lead up to the first Grand Slam of the year and was made to work hard for his victory. Nadal won the first set but was pegged back by Draper who levelled the match in the second set.
22-time Grand Slam Champion Nadal took control of the match in the third set before winning the contest 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1. He was helped by issues surrounding Draper’s fitness. The young Briton suffered cramps in his legs in the third and fourth sets. He had demonstrated some fine tennis in the early exchanges but physically began to fade as the match progressed into the later stages.
Nadal will now play American Mackenzie McDonald for a place in the third round.
The betting favourite and Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic gets his tournament underway on Tuesday against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.
In the woman’s draw, Emma Raducanu helped calm her injury fears as she won her opening match against Tamara Korpatsch 6-3 6-2. The British number one had suffered an ankle injury in Auckland only 11 days ago and her participation in the Grand Slam had been in doubt. However, she managed to overcome her German opponent in straight sets.
Raducanu will now play Coco Gauff in the second round who will pose a sterner test for the 20 year old and she bids for her second major title.