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Nadal in ominous early form at Aussie Tennis Open, Kygrios also through

Rafael Nadal has dispelled any fitness concerns with a commanding first-round Australian Open win over Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos.

Nadal, who lost last year's final at Melbourne Park to Roger Federer, cruised past the veteran world No.79 for the loss of just three games, marching to a 6-1 6-1 6-1 victory in just 94 minutes.

The Spaniard moved freely on his troublesome knee - which restricted his Open preparations and kept the 16-times grand slam champion to just one non-rankings match at the Kooyong Classic - this season.

Nadal pulled out of the Brisbane International saying his training was slightly behind schedule after aggravating an injury during November's ATP Finals in London.

But any doubts over his fitness were allayed by his impressive court coverage while his trademark groundstrokes were on song.

"This is a very important beginning for me. It was a good start," Nadal said.

"If I do months without playing official match it's always a little bit more difficult.

"But I started with positive feelings. That's the most important thing for me now.

"The things that I need to improve, the matches will give me that, no? (So) victories are the most important thing now."

The high point of the match for Estrella Burgess came in a marathon sixth game of the second set when the 37-year-old broke Nadal with his sixth break point.

That brought a standing ovation from the packed Rod Laver Arena crowd but the rest of the match was one-way traffic.

He only hit two aces but a quarter of his serves didn't come back.

Nadal also dominated regular play, making just 18 unforced errors for the match.

With the benefit of a favourable draw, Nadal has been heavily backed to go one better than last year's all-time classic final loss to Federer.

But he said he was not thinking of his favouritism or motivated by the chance to return to the final.

"I am not thinking all day, 'Oh, how good I am, I'm No. 1 of the world," Nadal said.

"I just think about trying to be ready for the next tournament, for the next practice.

"That motivates me. Every day for me is a good motivation to go on court in front of a great crowd here in Australia, in Rod Laver Arena."

Nadal will next face Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday after the Argentine overcame Chilean Nicolas Jarry 6-2 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal. Source: Getty


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