With U.S Open winner Carlos Alcaraz of Spain withdrawing due to an injury, his compatriot Rafael Nadal has been given the top billing in the men's singles draw in the Australian Open, starting in a few days.
World number one Rafael Nadal opened his Australian Open campaign by humiliating Hugo Dellien at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Tuesday. On the other hand, former women’s world number one Maria Sharapova suffered an embarrassing defeat in the opening round.
In a one-sided annihilation, Nadal thundered past Dellien 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 in less than two hours.
The Spaniard, who holds the record of becoming world number one in three different decades, is trying to match Roger Federer’s record of 20 Majors titles and also become the first-ever man in the Open Era to win all the four Grand Slams at least twice.
The 33-year-old won his only title in Melbourne back in 2009 against Federer and also has four runner-up finishes to his name.
“For me it is a positive start. What you want is a first-round win and in three sets is even better. He (Dellien) has a tough first five games but he had chances to win games,” PTI quoted Nadal as saying via AFP.
Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, who was a wild-card entrant in this year’s first Major, lost 3-6, 4-6 to 19th seed Donna Vekic. It was Sharapova’s third back-to-back first-round exit from a Grand Slam.
After her match, the 32-year-old raised speculations for her retirement as she said she is unable if she will return to Melbourne next year.
“It’s tough for me to tell what’s going to happen in 12 months’ time. Honestly, I’d give you the answer, I just don’t know. I haven’t thought of my schedule moving forward from here yet,” Sharapova said.