Australian Open top seeds Nadal and Swiatek reach second round

AP - Aaron Favila

Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek, the top seeds in the respective men's and women's draws at the Australian Open, moved into the second round on Monday after overcoming tricky opponents.

Nadal, the defending champion, needed just over three and a half hours to dispatch the 21-year-old Briton Jack Draper 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

After claiming the third set, Nadal lost his opening service game at the start of the fourth but broke back immediately and eventually took a 2-1 lead. The three games took 27 minutes.

They effort compounded Draper's physical decline. Suffering from cramps, he was unable to move fluently and his challenge faded away.

"It was a real honour to play against someone I've idolised growing up," Draper said. "To go toe-to-toe with him on a big court like that is special.

"I think I can take away the fact that my tennis is getting closer and closer and physically I'll be first to say I'm still a work in progress."

Swiatek, who is seeking a first crown in Australia, was inconsistent during her match against the unseeded German Jule Niemeier who served for the second set at 5-4 up.

But the 23-year-old fluffed her lines and allowed Swiatek to level at 5-5.

And the world number one raced through the next two games to claim the tie 6-4, 7-5 and set up a second round clash against María Camila Osorio Serrano from Colombia.

Elsewhere in the women's draw, Victoria Azarenka claimed the battle of former champions.

The 33-year-old from Belarus, who won in 2012 and 2013, saw off the 2020 champion Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6.

Frenchmen down


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