Djokovic hits Australian ground running
Novak Djokovic could not hide his satisfaction after completing the first step on the road to a place in history at the Australian Open.
On a day largely free of upsets, fourth seed David Ferrer and fifth seed Tomas Berdych also advanced with ease. Ferrer proved too strong for Belgian Olivier Rochus, winning 6-3 6-4 6-2 inside two hours, and Berdych had little trouble in dispatching American Michael Russell 6-3 7-5 6-3.
Several other seeds also progressed on day one at Melbourne Park with varying degrees of difficulty. Nicolas Almagro required five sets to see off American qualifier Steve Johnson – as did Fernando Verdasco, who hit back from two sets to one and a break down to beat David Goffin.
Maria Sharapova cruised into the second round with a ruthless demolition of countrywoman Olga Puchkova. There was little Russian solidarity on show as the second seed enjoyed a 6-0 6-0 'double-bagel' against an opponent who gave a faultless impersonation of a rabbit trapped in the headlights.
The win moved Sharapova a step closer to a potential third-round shoot-out against five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams and also dispelled any doubts over the state of her troublesome collarbone.
Although she didn't drop a game, Sharapova, who was beaten in last year's final, insisted there was still room for improvement.
"It's tough to feel completely satisfied," she said. "You always want to improve on things that you feel will help you in the later rounds towards the end of the second week."
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