Australian Open 2017: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal through to second round

Novak Djokovic
World number two Novak Djokovic has won the Australian Open six times
Australian Open 2017
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne Dates: 16-29 Jan
Coverage: Daily live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website; TV highlights on BBC Two and online from 21 January.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the second round of the Australian Open by beating Spain's Fernando Verdasco in straight sets.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion secured a 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory in an entertaining match in Melbourne.

World number nine Rafael Nadal earlier reached the second round with a commanding display.

The injury-hit Spaniard, who lost in the first round last year, beat Germany's Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 6-4.

World number two Djokovic will next face Denis Istomin or Ivan Dodig while Nadal, attempting to win his first Grand Slam title since 2014, will play Marcos Baghdatis.

'Melbourne feels like home'

Djokovic, 29, was hardly stretched as he took the first set inside 31 minutes as Verdasco, who received warm support from the crowd, badly mistimed several shots.

But Verdasco broke straight away in the second set, putting Djokovic under pressure. He eventually forced a tie-break despite a slew of unforced errors.

However, his inconsistency meant he could not capitalise on Djokovic's errors and the Serb went on to secure his place in the second round.

"It feels like home," said Djokovic. "It feels like coming to the place where I have an amazing number of incredible memories.

"When I saw the draw I thought to myself, this is going to be the only match I could focus on."

Impressive Nadal cruises through

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009 but has struggled with injury in the last year

Nadal, 30, had played just four matches since September's US Open after struggling last year with a wrist injury.

He dominated Mayer from the start, taking just over two hours to secure a straight-set victory in 39 degree heat.

"I was healthy enough to practise the way I wanted to, so that's important for me," Nadal added.

"I've had a longer period of time here in Australia, it was great experience and I was able to play in Brisbane."

Raonic and Dimitrov make second round

Third seed Milos Raonic went through with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Germany's Dustin Brown.

The 26-year-old Canadian, a semi-finalist last year, hit 18 aces and 46 winners, and will next face either Luxembourg's Gilles Muller or American Taylor Fritz.

Brisbane International champion Grigor Dimitrov beat Australia's Christopher O'Connell 7-6(2) 6-3 6-3, while France's Richard Gasquet also advanced after a 6-4 6-4 6-2 over Australian Blake Mott.

History on court 19... but it took a while

Ivo Karlovic
Ivo Karlovic was the last man standing against Horacio Zeballos

Croatia's Ivo Karlovic and Argentine Horacio Zeballos played out a mammoth match on court 19 lasting five hours and 14 minutes.

Karlovic, the 20th seed, eventually took the fifth set 22-20 after a total of 84 games. He won 118 of the 226 points played.

The match, which Karlovic won 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20, is the longest at the Australian Open in terms of games since tie-breaks were introduced for the first four sets in the 1970s.

It is the joint-second longest in terms of time, alongside Nadal's semi-final win over Verdasco in 2009 and behind only Djokovic's defeat of Nadal in the 2012 final.

However, it falls almost six hours short of the longest match in history - John Isner taking 11 hours and five minutes to beat Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010 in a match decided 70-68 in the final set.

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