Defending champion Novak Djokovic has taken the first step towards defending his Australian Open championship. Germany’s Julia Görges also pulled off the first big upset of the tournament.
Novak Djokovic beat Lukas Lack in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-1 on Monday to advance to the second round of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the new tennis season.
The Serbian second seed, who is hoping for a fourth consecutive title in Melbourne, clinched the final set with a thundering ace, after 110 minutes played. Although he did take the match in straight sets, Djokovic wasn't completely satisfied with his game.
"It's my first competitive match this season after a five to six week break and I was rusty in the first two sets," Djokovic said afterwards. "I was struggling to find rhythm on my backhand side."
This was also Djokovic's first official match under his new coach, German six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker, whom he hired last month, in part to take some of the pressure off of his other coach, Marian Vajda, who wanted to be able to spend more time with his family.
Becker is to spend around 20 weeks travelling with Djokovic on this year's ATP tour.
Djokovic is to face Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in the second round on Wednesday.
On the women's side earlier in the day, Julia Görges pulled off one of the first upsets of the tournament, knocking off the seventh seed Sara Errani in two straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
Sabine Lisicki, meanwhile beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1.
Also advancing were Germany's Angelique Kerber, who beat Jarmila Gajdosova 6-3, 0-6, 6-2, and Annika Beck, who blanked Petra Martic 6-0,6-0. Another German, Mona Barthel had a more difficult time with Zhang Shuai, eventually winning 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
On the men's side, No. 12-seed Tommy Haas failed to get out of the first round, pulling out when he was down a set and a break against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Florian Mayer, though, did advance, beating Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
pfd/hc (dpa, AFP, SID)