Tennis results Australian Open
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After spending most of the last six months on the sideline in an extended injury layoff, and after a first-round loss in a warm-up tournament, the 14-time Grand Slam winner said he was low on confidence coming into the first major of the year.
- Given their recent travails, it's hard to say whether Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are happy, but they should feel guardedly optimistic after the first round of the Aussie Open.
- Considering the offseason Roger Federer had, the Australian Open looks like it might be the start of his vacation.
The Spaniard remedied that, for a while at least, with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny on Day 1 of the Australian Open, where he won the title in 2009 and lost in the finals in 2012 and last year. Nadal hit 37 winners, and got his skipping, double-fist-pumping celebration going during the third set.
"Very positive result for me. I think very good start, " he said. "Always before the first match you always have the doubts, especially in this situation I'm arriving here. Never easy, but it was an important match for me ... a comfortable victory that give me some confidence."
The Australian Open is the only major Nadal hasn't won at least twice, and he has long wanted another triumph in Melbourne to complete a second full career Grand Slam. He has come close, losing to Novak Djokovic in a 5-hour, 53-minute epic final in 2012 and to Stan Wawrinka last year.
"When that happens after a tough period of injuries you arrive here with doubts, " he said. "This first match was tough mentally for me.
"Today is very hard to speak about having [title] chances. I have one match. That's better than two days ago, but I need more to feel that I am ready for something very important here. It's the moment to really give to this victory the right value."
Roger Federer, who has reached the semifinals of the Australian Open the past four years, won his first-round match in straight sets. AP Photo/Bernat Armangue
The four-time Australian Open champ, wearing a neon yellow shirt that matched his shoes, broke Lu's service in the 11th game of the final set and held in the next to advance to the second round.
Federer last won the championship here in 2010 and has made the semifinals the past four years. He lost last year's semifinal to Nadal, the 11th time the pair had met in a major.