AUSTRALIAN OPEN

World number one Rafael Nadal powered into the Australian Open second round with a routine win over the Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos.

The Spaniard, playing his first tournament match since suffering a knee injury in November, won 6-1 6-1 6-1 in 94 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal, who is aiming for a 17th Grand Slam title and a second in Australia, said his knee was “feeling good”.
“If I did not feel ready I would not be here. I’m happy to be back,” he said.
“I always have doubts, but at the same time I have confidence that I was ready to start the tournament and that was the case.”

The injury forced Nadal to miss this month’s Brisbane International, and he only had a one-match workout at the exhibition Kooyong Classic before heading into the first Grand Slam event of the year.
But the Spaniard, who was beaten by Roger Federer in last year’s final, got off to a perfect start and raced to victory over the 37-year-old.

The world number one will play Leonardo Mayer of Argentina next.
This is the 52nd Grand Slam of Nadal’s career but the first without his long-time coach and uncle Toni Nadal in his box.

Toni announced last season that he would cease to travel with his nephew at the end of 2017 to focus on the family’s academy in Majorca.
“Toni is the most important person in my career, everybody knows,” said Nadal, who is now coached by former world number one Carlos Moya.

“I can’t thank him enough for all the things but today he is not here. He’s doing a great job in my tennis academy. I have to think about the team that is here. I am happy with it.”

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov and in-form Australian Nick Kyrgios also advanced, but eighth seed Jack Sock was one of 12 Americans in the men’s and women’s singles draws to lose.
Sock went down 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-3 to world number 41 Yuichi Sugita, and 16th seed John Isner lost 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-3 to Australia’s Matthew Ebden.

Fifth seed Venus Williams, 10th seed Coco Vandeweghe and US Open champion Sloane Stephens were all knocked out of the women’s event. Williams- a finalist in Melbourne last year – lost 6-3 7-5 to world number 78 Belinda Bencic.
Sloane Stephens was knocked out by China’s world number 34 Zhang Shuai, who came through 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in one hour and 58 minutes.