Alex de Minaur advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Alex de Minaur advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)Source: AAP

Alex de Minaur has moved a step closer to an Australian Open showdown with Rafael Nadal after winning his first round match in straight sets.

The top-ranked Aussie male and No.27 seed looked fit despite playing two matches just two days ago on route to the Sydney International title, beating Portugal’s Pedro Sousa 6-4 7-5 6-4.

“I’m very happy with my performance. I thought that I had to be really tough today. And to back it up from Sydney, I am proud that I was able to get it done in three sets,” de Minaur said.

ALL OF THE NEWS FROM AUSTRALIAN OPEN DAY ONE

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De Minaur credited his fitness work in the off-season for his ability to back up so well.

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“I am proud of the work that we put in the off season,” he said.

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“They (my coaches) took me through a tough pre-season to get me ready for this, for the Australian summer, to be able to back up day after day and we did a lot of running, biking, boxing, which I am not very good at. Swimming, obviously I need my floaties.

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“But, yeah, I’m glad it’s paying off and I am really happy with my work that we put in.”

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De Minaur will face the winner of Mirza Basic v Henri Laaksonen in the second round.

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Retiring tennis legend Andy Murray has staged an unbelievable comeback to level his first-round match with Roberto Bautista Agut and keep his final Australian Open campaign alive.

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The Scot looked down for the count down 6-4 6-4 but rallied from behind to take a nail-biting third set, then the fourth in a tiebreaker.

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Riding a raucous Melbourne Arena crowd, five-time tournament runner-up Murray is bidding for an unlikely victory against the Spanish 22nd seed.

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On Friday the 31-year-old fought back the tears as he announced his looming retirement at some stage in 2019 owing to his debilitating hip condition.

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“I know I’ve got no chance of winning this tournament and most likely I’m going to lose in the first round,” Murray told journalists.

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ALL THE ACTION FROM AUSTRALIAN OPEN DAY 1

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THE DJOKER-LED ‘WAR’ SET TO DRIVE MEN’S TENNIS INTO CRISIS

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“I’m not happy about that. It’s going to be uncomfortable.

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Andy Murray v Roberto Bautista is on now. Follow live below

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“If it is my last match, I want to try and enjoy it, enjoy the whole experience which is maybe something during my career that I’ve not done. I’ve always been focused on tactics and winning and finding a way.”

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The 30-year-old Scot said he would assess his future in the sport after the tournament, with a goal of reaching Wimbledon in July for a worthy swan song.

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If you can’t see the blog, tap here.

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– AAP

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Roger Federer has picked up where he left off at last year’s Australian Open, racing away to a two-sets-to-love lead against Denis Istomin.

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The No.3 seed leads 6-3, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.

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Federer’s dominant display on Monday evening came after a three-time champion at the Grand Slam suggested the 37-year-old could only win at Melbourne Park.

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Speaking to The Express, Mats Wilander suggested the 37-year-old champion would only be able to add to his tally of 20 majors at Melbourne Park.

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“I think it is his only chance of winning a Major these days,” Eurosport’s Tennis Expert said when asked about Federer’s hopes.

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“I think Perth was a quick court and the Australian Open has been the quickest court throughout the whole season for the last couple of years.”

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ALL THE ACTION FROM AUSTRALIAN OPEN DAY 1

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THE DJOKER-LED ‘WAR’ SET TO DRIVE MEN’S TENNIS INTO CRISIS

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Ash Barty’s 2019 Australian Open campaign has gotten off to the best start possible, with the 15th seed making light work of her Thai opponent, Luksika Kumkhum.

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Barty claimed the match, 6-2, 6-2.

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The 22-year-old appeared shaky at first, losing the opening two games.

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But Barty responded emphatically, winning six games straight to claim the first set, before going on to win the second on Margaret Court Arena.

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Barty will play Yafan Wang in the second round.

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Earlier there was good news for Barty as she now cannot face a seeded opponent until the fourth round, with No.22 Jelena Ostapenko losing to Greece’s Maria Sakkari. Sakkari will play Aussie Astra Sharma on Wednesday.

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Australian Matt Ebden faces the tough proposition of Rafael Nadal in the second round.

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Ebden came back from a set down to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

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But now the Aussie must back up his performance against the Spaniard, who ousted James Duckworth in straight sets.

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Meanwhile, the defending women’s champion Caroline Wozniacki progressed through in straight sets, defeating Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-3, 6-4.

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NIGHT 1 ORDER OF PLAY

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Rod Laver Arena (from 7pm)

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3-Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL), 6-3, 6-4

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Denis Istomin (UZB) v 3-Roger Federer (SUI)

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Margaret Court Arena (from 7pm)

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15-Ashleigh Barty (AUS) def Luksika Kumkhum (THA), 6-2, 6-2

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6-Marin Cilic (CRO) v Bernard Tomic (AUS)

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Melbourne Arena (from 6pm)

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22-Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) v Andy Murray (GBR)

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8-Petra Kvitova (CZE) v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)

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1573 Arena (from 5pm)

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Matthew Ebden (AUS) def Jan-Lennard Struff (GER), 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 ,6-4

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If you can’t see the blog, tap here.

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– with AFP

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