MELBOURNE, January 15, 2018
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal opened his Australian Open campaign on Monday evening when he took on Victor Estrella Burgos in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal, who lost a dramatic final to Roger Federer in 2017, has fallen in the first round at a Grand Slam on just two occasions. Nadal, back in a sleveless outfit for the first time in 10 years, was full of confidence against Dominican Republic’s Estrella Burgos, who has won just one Australian Open match in three appearances in Melbourne.
The top seed remained untroubled and won 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 34 minutes, improving to 52-11 at the Happy Slam. Nadal will next face Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
Long may we see @RafaelNadal on Rod Laver Arena!
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 15. Januar 2018
Earlier in the evening, home favourite Nick Kyrgios continued his strong start to the year when beat Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth match on Hisense Arena. The 22-year-old won his fourth career title, and his first on Australian soil, at Brisbane in the first week of the 2018 season – a good omen, perhaps, as he looks to become the first Australian champion in Melbourne since Mark Edmondson in 1976.
Against Dutra Silva, Kyrgios struck 16 aces and fired 33 winners to seal victory in one hour and 27 minutes.
“I’m just excited to be back in Melbourne. A couple of years ago on this court I made a quarterfinal, so I’m just trying to emulate that and go a bit further,’’ Kyrgios said. “Hopefully I can continue to improve and find my feet out here.’’
Next up for Kyrgios will be former World No. 12 Viktor Troicki of Serbia.
Kyrgios won the only previous meeting, last year in Montreal.
“I know what he’s going to bring. He’s a tough competitor. He plays well in Grand Slams. I’m not going to think about it too much,” said Kyrgios of his second round opponent who recovered from a two-sets-to-love deficit against Australian wildcard Alex Bolt.
“He’s got a good serve. He has a great backhand. He’s a journeyman. He’s been on the tour for a long time. Won a lot of matches. In the Grand Slams, he’s made the fourth round a lot of times.”