Novak Djokovic breezes into 2nd round
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Novak Djokovic won the men's U.S. Open, one of his three Grand Slam titles in 2011. Anyone who didn't know it only had to look at his shoes on Tuesday -- if his emphatic first-round win wasn't evidence enough.
Djokovic started his Australian Open defense with a 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 win over Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, wearing a pair of red-white-and-blue shoes with images of his three major trophies on the sides and a Serbian flag on the heels.
He gave up an early break but immediately broke back at love as he won the next 17 games, saving a break point in the opening game of the second set.
"It was a great performance for (my) first official match of the 2012 season," said the top-ranked Djokovic, whose only loss at a Grand Slam tournament last year was in the French Open semifinals.
Murray was a finalist at Melbourne Park the past two years, losing in straight sets to Roger Federer in 2010 and to Djokovic last year.
Djokovic changed his buildup for the Australian Open this year, deciding not to play any warm-up tournaments. He was confident it wouldn't harm his chances.
"I'm nowadays a more complete player. I feel physically I'm stronger, I move better. I serve better," he said. "Especially having 2011 the way I had, this gives me more confidence."
The 24-year-old Serb has won two Australian titles -- including his first major in 2008 -- and his game is well suited to the pace of the hard court. But he struggled at times with the heat at Melbourne Park before his breakthrough season last year and didn't always look comfortable against Lorenzi as the temperature hit 90 degrees in the first set.
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It didn't stop him from entertaining his fans, though. He played a shot between his legs, with his back to the net, to set up a break point chance in the fourth game of the third set which brought the crowd to its feet.
Another former finalist, Lleyton Hewitt, gave the night session crowd at Rod Laver Arena something to cheer when the Australian veteran beat Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, coming from 5-1 down in the fourth set.
Roddick, who is attempting to regain his top playing form after slipping out of the top 10, looked sharp throughout the contest, hitting 35 winners and breaking the Dutchman six times.
Men's No. 5 seed David Ferrer advanced in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, over Rui Machado of Portugal. No. 24 Kei Nishikori of Japan and No. 32 Alex Bogomolov Jr., now representing Russia, also advanced. Germany's Philipp Petzschner routed Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-0, 6-2 to advance.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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