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Australian Open: Naomi Osaka wins first round; Rafael Nadal’s record bid off to a perfect start

The 25-year-old could not have hoped for a better script for a potential contribution, she writes for January 17, when she won her opening match 6-3 6-3 against Colombian Camila Osorio at Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka, who is the 13th seeded in this year's draw, drove herself into a 5-0 lead in the opening set on Monday before some lively play from 20-year-old Osorio and a couple of unforced errors allowed her a route into the match.

The Japanese star eventually managed to win the first set. In the second set, Osorio had two early break points but was unable to capitalize.

Osaka broke into a 3-1 lead and a misguided Osorio backhand in the net finally gave Osaka the win to get his title defense to the perfect start.

"I thought I played pretty well given the circumstances, I did not have much information about my opponent," Osaka said in his interview on the field.

She added: "I hope we have given you a really good performance. It always feels very special for me to come back here. I have a lot of good memories here."

Osaka play a forehand against Osorio during their women's singles match on day one of the Australian Open.

Osaka must face Madison Brengle in the second round after the American advanced as Dayana Yastremska pulled back 1-6 6-0 0-5.

Earlier this month, Osaka played her first match in four months after taking a break from tennis following a defeat to Leylah Fernandez at the US Open Last year, she also withdrew from the French Open due to mental problems and chose not to participate at. Wimbledon.

The four-time grand slam champion said she prioritises her enjoyment on the pitch during her time in Melbourne.

"I can not expect to win every match, but I expect to have fun and challenge myself," she said. "I'm here because I want to be here and because I think it's fun for me.

"I accept the fact that I want dips and I have to figure out a way to overcome it."

Osaka celebrates its match point against Osorio.

Could this be the year?

Like Osaka, Rafael Nadal's Australian Open could not have started better as the Spaniard begins his attempt to win what would be a record-breaking 21st grand slam victory,

The Spaniard beat Marcos Giron 6-1 6-4 6-2 in just one hour and 49 minutes to advance to the second round in Melbourne.

In what was his 70th victory in the competition, Nadal continued his fast start to 2022 at Rod Laver Arena.

After missing the end of the 2021 season thanks to a foot injury, Nadal won the Melbourne Summer Set title two weeks ago, his first tournament victory on Australian soil since the 2009 Australian Open.

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And the 35-year-old maintained his good form against Giron, a dominant 24-minute first set was setting the tone.

Nadal continued to keep his foot down all the way as he drove past world No. 66 Giron without too much fuss.

Nadal is the only former champion left in the draw - with Novak Djokovic deported and Roger Federer injured - meaning he could become the men's all-time grand slam record winner by winning in Melbourne.

And he stressed the importance of winning last week at the Melbourne Summer Set after beating Giron.

"Last week had been important to me. I played three games, I won three games. I won a title, it's always beautiful," said Nadal.

"And I think I'm doing better and better. You never know what's going on, but I'm glad if you tell me I want to be in this position a month ago, of course I would no doubt sign the paper ( smiling).

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Nadal celebrates after winning against Giron.

"In the beginning (of a comeback) things get tough, of course you will not have the best feelings sometimes on the pitch.

"But it definitely helps to stay positive, play with the right energy and of course be on tour, practice with the guys and win matches."

Sixth seed Nadal will now face the winner of the match between wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis and qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the second round.


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