Novak Djokovic was one of the big names easing their way to victory on the first day of the Australian Open, alongside Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem.
Defending champion and top-ranked seed Djokovic cruised into the next round as he dispatched France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-1 6-2.
The eight-time winner in Melbourne showed why he is favourite for the title with an assured performance and now goes on to play the American Frances Tiafoe.
Seven-time champion Williams began her pursuit of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam in style with a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 victory over German 23rd seed Laura Siegemund.
It took the American just 56 minutes to beat Siegemund as she recovered from a shaky start to win 10 games in a row and set up a clash with Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic.
Second seed and world number two Halep also enjoyed a straightforward 6-2 6-1 win against Australian wildcard Lizette Cabrera in under an hour.
Cabrera never looked in danger of causing a shock against the 2018 finalist, who will face Ajla Tomljanovic in the next round.
But there was an upset on the women’s side of the draw as the three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber crashed out 6-0 6-4 against American Bernarda Pera.
The 23rd seed blamed quarantine for her defeat, and suggested she wouldn’t have come to Australia had she known what it would be like.
Kerber was one of 72 players confined to their hotel rooms after travelling on a COVID-19-contaminated charter flight to Melbourne and she showed clear signs of rust.
US Open champion Osaka had no such problems in her 6-1 6-2 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova despite pulling out of last week’s warm-up event with a shoulder issue.
Pavlyuchenkova was arguably the most difficult first-round opponent Osaka could have faced, but the third seed made light work of the Russian prodigy in just 68 minutes.
She now comes up against former world No. 4 Caroline Garcia.
Third seed Thiem is looking to go one better than last year’s runners-up medal but he had to battle to win 7-6(2) 6-2 6-3 against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.
Germany’s Dominik Koepfer will be his next opponent.
Alexander Zverev, Petra Kvitova and Bianca Andreescu all advanced to the next round to complete a relatively routine day at the office for the top seeds.
The game of the day saw 11th seed Denis Shapovalov survive a five-set battle with exciting 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, winning 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 after almost four hours.
The only Brit in action on the first day, Katie Boulter, lost 6-1 6-4 to Daria Kasatkina despite saving four match points.
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Featured image credit: Carine06 via Wikimedia Commons