Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori make it through at Australian Open
Zverev eases past Bedene, but Nishikori has to come from two sets down to beat Majchrzak; Djokovic cruises
Last Updated: 15/01/19 11:21am
Alexander Zverev answered doubts about his fitness with a comfortable win over Aljaz Bedene in the first round of the Australian Open.
The German fourth seed finished last season on a real high by beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic back to back to win his biggest title at the ATP Finals, but arrived in Melbourne nursing a hamstring injury and then rolled an ankle in practice.
He was briefly a break down in the opening set against Bedene, back representing his native Slovenia after a spell competing for Britain, but from then on was barely troubled in a 6-4 6-1 6-4 victory.
"I've had about 86 injuries and the ankle is still a bit swollen," said the 21-year-old. "But I've done everything right in my preparation. Now I either play well or I don't."
Novak Djokovic launched his bid for a record-setting Australian Open triumph with a straight sets win in the first round.
The world No 1 defeated Mitchell Krueger, a qualifier, 6-3 6-2 6-2 in the first round.
Djokovic is aiming to become the most successful player in the Grand Slam's history by winning a seventh title.
He will next play wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a repeat of the 2008 final, in which Djokovic won his first title.
Eighth seed Kei Nishikori looked to be in major trouble against qualifier Kamil Majchrzak when he lost the opening two sets but the Pole was stricken by cramp early in the third set and eventually called it a day trailing 3-6 6-7 (6-8) 6-0 6-2 3-0.
"I was trying to play but he was playing amazing tennis. I have to be happy that I didn't lose today," said a relieved Nishikori, who next faces giant Ivo Karlovic of Croatia next.
Last year's semi-finalist Hyeon Chung, the 24th seed, also staged an impressive comeback, recovering from two sets down to defeat Bradley Klahn 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2 6-4.
He will play world No 55 Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in the second round.
Elsewhere, 15th seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev went through in three sets while 12th seeded Italian Fabio Fognini beat Spain's Jaume Munar, who retired with cramps while two sets down.
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