Ruthless Nadal kick-starts quest

Ruthless Nadal kick-starts quest

Kim Clijsters, a favourite for the women's title, doled out the most humiliating punishment, beating fellow former number one Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-0 -- the dreaded double bagel -- on Rod Laver Arena.

A second Australian Open title would make Nadal the first man in more than four decades to hold the quartet of Grand Slam titles at the same time, and his first step was taken with single-minded purpose.

Brazilian Marcos Daniel mustered up just 12 points in 46 minutes before he decided his injured left knee, and possibly his pride, could take no more and he called an end to the contest with Nadal leading 6-0, 5-0.

The world number one knows very well the pain of injury having hobbled out of Melbourne Park in the quarterfinals when his own knees gave up on him last year, and he was full of sympathy for his 32-year-old opponent.

“He tried his best during the match,” said the Spanish top seed. “He didn't want to retire. That says a lot for him. Not everybody's able to do this. So all the respect to him.”
The short contest left Nadal, who was struggling with flu in the run up to the tournament, with little better idea of the level of his game.

“It's difficult to say I played really well or I played bad,” he added. “I think I played right. I played some good shots, some long shots. The serve can be a little bit better. Yeah, that's the only point that I think I can improve.”

US Open champion Clijsters needed just 44 minutes to reach the second round, bustling around the court to clinically pick apart the hapless Russian. “I do feel bad,” Clijsters told reporters. “I even caught myself at 5-0 in the second set, she hit a couple of backhands down the line, I was like 'Yeah, that's it!'”

Safina, who according to the WTA became the first former women's number one to lose 6-0, 6-0 at a Grand Slam since the rankings system began in 1975, was nonplussed by her form.

“I didn't know how to win a point,” she said. “There was nothing I could do to hurt her. I'm scratching my head thinking 'what the hell I am doing?'.”

It took David Nalbandian 244 minutes longer than Clijsters to reach the second round, the Argentine outlasting her former boyfriend Lleyton Hewitt 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 9-7 in a four-hour 48-minute battle of attrition that finished at 1.07 AM local time.

Like Nadal, Andy Murray's passage was eased by a retirement when Slovakia's Karol Beck quit with the fifth seed 6-3, 6-1, 4-2 up, but the Briton's day was overshadowed by a freak incident involving his doubles playing brother Jamie.

“He hit a baby sparrow when he was practising his serve,” Murray, the losing finalist here last year, said. “I think he killed it. My mum told me about it when I woke up this morning.
“I hope he didn't do it on purpose. I haven't seen him yet today.”

Robin Soderling, who leapfrogged Murray into the fourth seed position courtesy of his title win in the Brisbane warm-up, cruised through his first round encounter with Potito Starace 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

Vera Zvonareva, the number two women's seed, rattled off a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Austria's Sybille Bammer in the opening match on a cool and blustery Rod Laver Arena.
Fans on the Hisense Arena showcourt at least had a contest in the final match of the day session when Ekaterina Makarova outlasted another former number one, Serbian Ana Ivanovic, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8.

The fifth seed Samantha Stosur could not have done much better on Tuesday than her 6-1, 6-1 drubbing of American wildcard and Grand Slam debutant Lauren Davis in another mismatch on centre court.


Men’s singles: 27-David Nalbandian (Arg) bt Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 9-7; 13-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Philipp Petzschner (Ger) 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; 21-Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) bt Grega Zemlja (Slo) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2; 4-Robin Soderling (Swe) bt Potito Starace (Ita) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2; Benjamin Becker (Ger) bt 24-Ernests Gulbis (Lat) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-4; 20-John Isner (US) bt Florent Serra (Fra) 6-3, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3; Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) bt Dudi Sela (Isr) 7-6 (15-13), 6-4, 6-4; Ryan Sweeting (US) bt Daniel Gimeno-Traver (Spa) 6-4, 6-4, 6-1; 5-Andy Murray (Bri) bt Karol Beck (Svk) 6-3, 6-1, 4-2 (retd); Santiago Giraldo (Col) bt Rui Machado (Por) 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1; 30-Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) bt Ricardo Mello (Bra) 7-5, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3; Pere Riba (Spa) bt Carsten Ball (Aus) 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-4; 7-David Ferrer (Spa) bt Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2; Jan Hernych (Cze) bt Denis Istomin (Uzb) 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4; Blaz Kavcic (Slo) bt Kevin Anderson (SA) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5); Michael Russell (US) bt Matthew Ebden (Aus) 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (10-9); 11-Juergen Melzer (Aut) bt Vincent Millot (Fra) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2; 15-Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Donald Young (US) 6-3, 6-2, 6-1; 32-Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) bt Michael Berrer (Ger) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; 31-Feliciano Lopez (Spa) bt Alejandro Falla (Col) 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3; 1-Rafael Nadal (Spa) bt Marcos Daniel (Bra) 6-0, 5-0 (retd); 10-Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) bt Marsel Ilhan (Tur) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5); Bernard Tomic (Aus) bt Jeremy Chardy (Fra) 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5); Eduardo Schwank (Arg) bt Leonardo Mayer (Arg) 6-2, 6-0, 6-4.
Women’s singles: Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) bt 19-Ana Ivanovic (Srb) 3-6, 6-4, 10-8; 3-Kim Clijsters (Bel) bt Dinara Safina (Rus) 6-0, 6-0; Kristina Barrois (Ger) bt Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzb) 6-4, 6-2; Caroline Garcia (Fra) bt Varvara Lepchenko (US) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3; 26-Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (Spa) bt Greta Arn (Hun) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2; Klara Zakopalova (Cze) bt Melanie Oudin (US) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1; 10-Shahar Peer (Isr) bt Mathilde Johansson (Fra) 6-1, 6-1; Lesya Tsurenko (Ukr) bt Patty Schnyder (Sui) 6-2, 6-3; 24-Alisa Kleybanova (Rus) bt Irina Falconi (US) 6-1, 6-0; Alicia Molik (Aus) bt Roberta Vinci (Ita) 1-6, 6-3, 8-6; Simona Halep (Rom) bt Anne Kremer (Lux) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; Sorana Cirstea (Rom) bt Mirjana Lucic (Cro) 6-4, 6-2; 13-Nadia Petrova (Rus) bt Ksenia Pervak (Rus) 6-2, 6-1; 18-Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt Romina Oprandi (Ita) 6-3, 5-7, 8-6; 22-Flavia Pennetta (Ita) bt Anastasia Rodionova (Aus) 6-2, 6-1; 31-Lucie Safarova (Cze) bt Zhang Shuai (Chn) 7-5, 4-6, 6-1; Ayumi Morita (Jpn) bt 27-Alexandra Dulgheru (Rom) 6-4, 6-4; Alize Cornet (Fra) bt Coco Vandeweghe (US) 6-2, 6-1; 7-Jelena Jankovic (Srb) bt Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) 6-0, 7-6 (7-5); 5-Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Lauren Davis (US) 6-1, 6-1; 12-Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Kimiko Date Krumm (Jpn) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; Petra Martic (Cro) bt Sophie Ferguson (Aus) 7-6 (8-6), 0-6, 6-3; Peng Shuai (Chn) bt Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukr) 2-6, 6-3,  8-6; Bojana Jovanovski (Srb) bt Chang Kai-Chen (Twn) 7-5, 6-1; Anna Chakvetadze (Rus) bt Olga Govortsova (Blr) 6-3, 6-4; Iveta Benesova (Cze) bt Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spa) 6-0, 6-1; 25-Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Sally Peers (Aus) 6-2, 6-4; 2-Vera Zvonareva (Rus) bt Sybille Bammer (Aut) 6-2, 6-1.

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