Millennium Post

Biggies set the court rolling!

Novak Djokovic got his title defence off to a flying start with a straight-sets win in his opening match at the Australian Open on Monday.

The world number one had few worries in disposing of the 60th-ranked Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, winning 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 in 1hr 42min on a sun-baked Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic is bidding to become the first player in the Open Era to win three consecutive Australian Opens and was in a different league to Mathieu, running through to his 15th straight match win in Melbourne.

The Serb top seed did not drop serve and broke the Frenchman’s service four times in a commanding performance ahead of his next round encounter with American Ryan Harrison.

It was Djokovic’s fifth win in six meetings with Mathieu, who was playing in his first Australian Open since 2009 after injury-blighted seasons in 2010 and 2011, and not recovering in time from knee surgery to play in Melbourne last year.

World number two Maria Sharapova powered into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday, crushing hapless fellow Russian Olga Puchkova in a rare double bagel.

 Sharapova, the champion in 2008 and runner-up last year, stormed through 6-0, 6-0 in just 55 minutes and will next play either Croat Petra Martic or Misaki Doi of Japan.

 The second seed came into the season’s opening Grand Slam without any competitive matches under her belt after a collarbone injury ruled her out of the Brisbane International, but showed no evidence of the problem on court.

Playing in her 10th campaign at Melbourne Park, Sharapova is looking to avenge the humbling she was dealt by Victoria Azarenka in the final last year.


Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic dug deep to dump Australian warhorse Lleyton Hewitt out in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday. Eighth-seeded Tipsarevic out-fought the tenacious Hewitt 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, 6-3 in just over three hours to advance in the year-opening Grand Slam. Hewitt, ranked 81 and playing in a record 17th consecutive Australian Open, fought to the bitter end but Tipsarevic unleashed a flurry of winners to seal the victory. Tipsarevic, who dreaded the prospect of playing crowd hero Hewitt at night on the opening day of the tournament, came through impressively.
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