Djokovic, Zverez and Jabeur advance to the Australian open second round

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World number five Novak Djokovic laid down a marker with a dominant 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Andy Murray, Alexandr Zverez and Tunisian Ons Jabeur also progressed to the second round of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.

Novak Djokovic’s return to the tournament sees him looking to notch up a record-extending 10th Australian Open title. The 35-year-old missed last year’s competition after his visa was cancelled amid controversy surrounding his COVID-19 vaccination. The Serbian is also looking to draw level with the fellow superstar Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam count. He is currently on 21 titles, one behind his Spanish rival.

This was only the second time Djokovic and Roberto Carballes Baena have met with the Serb winning both matches. Djokovic cruised to a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. The 71st ranked poor form against players in the top ten continued. He has lost all 10 matches thus far.

In the other match, Andy Murray bagged one of his biggest victories in recent years against Italian 13th seed Italian Matteo Berrettini.
Five-time runner up in Melbourne Murray, held off last year’s semifinalist Berrettini fightback to win 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7, 7-6, victory after the final set went to a tie-break.

The former Wimbledon and US Open champion is now ranked 66th in the world.

The 35-year-old was bidding to beat a top-20 player at a grand slam for the first time since a hip surgery in 2017. Murray won the opening two sets before the Italian fought back to level by winning a dramatic fourth set tie break. But Murray managed to win a match after four hours and 49 minutes of play.

And in the other match, German Alexandr Zverez returned to Grand Slam tennis in a dramatic fashion after he beat Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas in a five-set epic 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 in the first round. The German was playing in his first match at a major since suffering ankle ligament damage at a French Open last year.
The Peruvian took a surprise first set lead, but the German was dominant in the second. The 104th ranked Varillas was not overawed to take the third set, but the German clinched the next two sets to seal the hard fought victory.

In the Women’s draw, Second seed Ons Jabeur’s quest for a maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open began with a shaky 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Tamara Zidansek in the first round.

The Tunisian was runner-up at both Wimbledon and the US Open last year, but she had to grind past the Slovenian world number 98 in a two hours, 17 minutes battle.

The 28-year-old has set herself the two targets this year of becoming the first Arab and African woman to win one of the four tennis majors, and toppling Iga Swiatek from the number one ranking.

Jabeur, who missed last year’s Australian Open with a back injury, narrowly won the first set, with the Slovenian shading the second, but the Tunisian showed her class in the deciding set.