Seamless Nadal drubs Australian Duckworth in Melbourne opener

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki trains. Edgar Su Reuters

Russia's Maria Sharapova hits a forehand return to Britain's Harriet Dart during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

The Dane took some time to get into her stride against her Belgian opponent, who had stunned another defending champion, Garbine Muguruza, at Wimbledon previous year.

"I mean, there is no time for that, I'm sorry to say", Sharapova - the 30th seed - told reporters afterwards.

Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009 and is bidding to become the first man in the Open era to win each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.

"I'd be OK", he said, "with that being my last match".

Ostapenko, the former victor of Roland Garros suffered a devastating loss against Maria Sakkari, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

"I think it's shown the depth that is in Australian tennis on the female side".

Andy Murray almost pulled off quite a comeback before losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2 to 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, his first opening-round exit from a Grand Slam tournament in a decade.

The third-seeded Dane broke Van Uytvanck once in each set and kept her unforced errors down to win the baseline battle in an hour and 33 minutes in the first match of the evening session at the Rod Laver Arena.

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Kalinskaya fought hard in the second set but came second, losing it 6-4 to allow Sabalenka a second round match-up against either Katie Boulter or Ekaterina Makarova.

Defending champion Roger Federer began his quest for a record seventh Australian Open title with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Denis Istomin.

Rafael Nadal wasn't about to let another Australian wild-card entry beat him at a Grand Slam tournament.

The second seed was largely untroubled by Duckworth, who is ranked 237th in the world, in his first competitive match since the US Open in September.

Fifth seeded Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion who struggled in her warm-up tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney, got back to business with an easy two-set win against fellow American Taylor Townsend.

Isner went up a break in the fourth set and served to force a fifth while ahead 5-4.

World number three Wozniacki, who made her Grand Slam breakthrough in Melbourne past year, opened her defence with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck.

Naomi Osaka is seeking to become the first female victor of back-to-back majors since Serena Williams picked up the French Open and Wimbledon in 2015 to complete her second "Serena Slam".

Nadal will face another Australian, Matt Ebden, in the second round on Wednesday.

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