Australian Open: Nadal Begins Historical Campaign with Ruthless Win

A ruthless Rafael Nadal showed no mercy in a clinical first-round thumping of wildcard James Duckworth at the Australian Open on Monday.

Nadal swatted aside the home hope Duckworth 6-4 6-3 7-5 in a performance that eased concerns over his fitness ahead of the season’s first major.

The 2009 winner had pulled out of the Brisbane International warm-up with a thigh strain but showed no signs of the problem in his opener, hammering his opponent to set up a meeting with Matthew Ebden or Jan-Lennard Struff next.

The Spanish second seed is aiming to become the first man in the Open era, and only third in history along with Roy Emerson and Rod Laver, to win each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.