Rafa Nadal Boosts his Australian Open Hopes with a Straightforward First Round Victory

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Spaniard Rafa Nadal announced his return to the court with a straight-sets victory over Victor Estrella Burgos during the first round of the Australian Open. After suffering a stop-start injury-hit end to the 2017 season, Nadal returned to Melbourne having played no warm-up events but displayed very few signs of rustiness as he overcame his opponent during a routine success.

Last year’s finalist was well-fancied for success in Melbourne but he is taking just one step at a time. Many of the top online bookmakers here at BettingTop10 have shortened the price on the ‘King of Clay’ to make amends for the 2017 final defeat to Roger Federer and he is now 4/1 with Stan James for success Down Under.

He took just an hour and 34 minutes to wrap up the 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory during his 52nd career grand slam and appears at ease with his himself on the court once again. He goes on to face Leonardo Mayer, a player who he remains unbeaten against in five meetings. He last faced in the Argentinean in last year’s US Open and won in four sets.

Other Notable First Round Results

Nadal’s fellow countryman David Ferrer suffered a first-round exit at the hands of improving Russian Andrey Rublev whilst home hopeful Nick Kyrgios eased past Rogerio Dutra-Silva 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. In typical fashion, the fiery Aussie committed a court violation after asking a spectator to be quiet midway through the first set. Brit Kyle Edmund picked up a notable scalp beating lofty South African Kevin Anderson whilst the likes of Gilles Simon and Ivo Karlovic all eased through.

There were a couple of casualties on the women’s side of the draw with American duo Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe both crashing out in the first round whilst Venus Williams was defeated by Belinda Bencic who returns to the court following surgery and is one of the fancied players for the tournament. The Swiss star has been moved into 18/1 with Betfair following her impressive performances against the veteran.

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