Rafael Nadal glided through his first-round Australian Open match against Victor Estrella Burgos, winning in straight sets.
The world number one brushed off any doubts about his fitness after knee problems which plagued the end of last season.
In a routine encounter, Nadal beat his 37-year-old opponent 6-1 6-1 6-1 in an imperious display.
The Dominican had one moment of glory, winning a game in the second set which lasted more than 15 minutes, preventing Nadal from a bagel.
Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena crowd were treated to an almost perfect performance from the Spaniard as he won the opening set with ease.
There were no signs of problems with the world number one’s movement as his forehand and aggressive play allowed him to win the next two sets with ease.
It was a first encounter for the world number 81 against former champion Nadal, where each game won was celebrated like a mini victory.
Nadal’s next opponent is Argentinian Leonardo Mayer, who beat his first-round opponent Nicolas Jarry in straight sets.
Watching Stanislas Wawrinka’s stunning performance at this year’s Australian Open has been one of the highlights of 2014 so far. If his victory in the final was arguably spoilt by the injury of Rafael Nadal, nobody could deny his brilliant win against four-time victor Novak Djokovic.
He has been a player in great form. Having seen Wawrinka play Nadal at the O2 finals in London at the end of last season, it was clear that he was a player brimming with self confidence. Nadal managed to beat him 7-6 7-6 on the day, but the Swiss clearly had the shots to really trouble the world number one. Just a couple of months on and Wawrinka has turned those missed chances into defining moments.
Last year, I laid my cards on the line and predicted who I thought would be victorious in the 2012 tennis Grand Slams (click here to read the post). It turns out that most of those predictions ran true, and, had I placed a bet at the time of writing I probably would have received a substantial amount in return.
Now, with just over two days before the 2013 Australian Open begins I’ve decided to hedge my bets once again. To start with, I’m going to predict who will win in Melbourne and then attempt to choose the other Grand Slam winners in future posts. Continue reading