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Rafael Nadal ready to let rip remodelled serve at Australian Open

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Rafael Nadal eyes Australian Open title 'I am playing well'

Former champion Maria Sharapova gave hapless Harriet Dart a 6-0 6-0 shellacking to fly into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.

"I feel good. If I am not feeling good, I will not be here", Nadal told reporters two days before the start of the first Grand Slam of the year.

At 37, he's still targeting records at his record-equaling 20th Australian Open: to be the first man to win seven Australian Open titles, the first man to win at least seven singles titles at two Grand Slam tournaments (he has eight Wimbledon titles), and the first man to win five major titles after turning 30.

"I love what I do, I love competing and challenging myself to get better", she said.

Rafael Nadal breezed past Aussie James Duckworth in the first round at the Australian Open and turned up to the post-match press conference in a very good mood.

He was joined in the third round by another kid from the USA who'd never been that far at Melbourne Park, 21-year-old Taylor Fritz, who saved 12 of the 13 break points he faced while dispatching No. 30 seed Gael Monfils of France 6-3, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).

Although she had two break points in the third game of the second set, Watson failed to take advantage and ended up losing in just over an hour.

In-form fifth seed Kevin Anderson has avoided another first-round banana skin at the Australian Open to set up a clash with American young gun Frances Tiafoe.

"I'm just excited. I think it's a positive to be here as the defending champion".

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Jelena Ostapenko suffered a shock first-round defeat at the Australian Open on Monday as 2019's first grand slam got under way in Melbourne.

Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt WC-Jason Kubler (AUS) 6-4 7-6 (1) 2-6 6-3. Dart left the main Rod Laver Arena in tears.

Another British player, Heather Watson, also lost early on day one, beaten 6-1, 6-2 by 31st-seeded Petra Martic.

The 17-time major champion had 38 winners and only 11 unforced errors against the luckless Duckworth, who has undergone countless bouts of foot surgery in recent years.

Nadal looked in impressive form in his first competitive match since the US Open in September.

Isner went up a break in the fourth set and served to force a fifth while ahead 5-4. But Nadal returned the favor, breaking the Australian in the final game of the match.

Wozniacki sealed the match with a forehand victor on her third matchpoint and will next meet Sweden's Johanna Larsson, who progressed after Vera Lapko of Belarus retired while trailing 7-6 (5) 3-0.

The South African, a runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon previous year, had failed to reach the second round at Melbourne Park since 2015, but made no mistake this time round.

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