Novak Djokovic secures straight-sets win on day one of the Australian Open
Last Updated: 14/01/13 5:25pm
Novak Djokovic: Straight-sets winner over Paul-Henri Mathieu
Novak Djokovic threw down an early marker to his title rivals at the Australian Open with a convincing win over Paul-Henri Mathieu.
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Djokovic, who is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win three successive titles in Melbourne, outplayed the experienced Frenchman for long periods to record a 6-2 6-4 7-5 victory.
Mathieu, a former top-12 player, was a potential banana skin for the world No 1 but Djokovic always appeared in control on Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic will be joined in the second round by fellow seeds Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro, Stanislas Warwinka and Kei Nishikori.
Berdych, seeded five in Melbourne, enjoyed a routine 6-3 7-5 6-3 victory over Michael Russell, while No 15 seed Wawrinka beat German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-2 6-4 6-3.
Nishikori, ranked 16th, recovered from a set down to beat Victor Hanescu 6-7 (7-5) 6-3 6-1 6-3, while No 10 seed Almagro was pushed all the way by American qualifier Steve Johnson.
Johnson matched the Spaniard for much of their three hour, 10 minute-encounter before Almagro came out on top 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-2.
Fernando Verdasco, Jurgen Melzer and Julien Benneteau also progressed to the second round after the early exchanges in Melbourne.
Melzer, the No 26 seed, defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1 6-1 6-2, while 32nd-seeded Julien Benneteau overcame Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2 6-4.
Like his compatriot Almagro, Fernando Verdasco was taken all the way before the 22nd seed managed to come out on top against David Goffin 6-3 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4.