Nadal, Clijsters, Li Na advance at Australian Open

MELBOURNE Rafael Nadal’s troublesome left shoulder and Kim Clijsters’ sore left hip passed their first major tests Monday when both players advanced to the second round of the Australian Open.
Women's champ Kim Clijsters saw off the threat of Maria Joao Koehler. Net photo.
Women's champ Kim Clijsters saw off the threat of Maria Joao Koehler. Net photo.

MELBOURNE

Rafael Nadal’s troublesome left shoulder and Kim Clijsters’ sore left hip passed their first major tests Monday when both players advanced to the second round of the Australian Open.

Nadal, the 2009 champion at Melbourne Park, beat Alex Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. He played with his right knee heavily strapped but the shoulder that hampered his play in the latter part of 2011 appeared not to trouble him.

“That’s in the past,” Nadal said when asked about his injuries in a post-match television interview.

Defending champion Clijsters opened with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Portuguese qualifier Maria Joao Koehler, showing no signs of the hip spasms which forced her to withdraw from a tuneup event in Brisbane 10 day ago.

Li Na, who lost the Australian final to Clijsters last year, had a 6-3, 6-1 win over Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan. In the first featured match of the tournament, third-seeded Victoria Azarenka won 12 straight games to finish off Heather Watson 6-1, 6-0 in 67 minutes in the opening match on center court.

Other women advancing included No. 16-seeded Peng Shuai of China, No. 20 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, No. 22 Julia Goerges, No. 26 Anabel Medina of Spain and Eleni Daniilidou of Greece beat 41-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan 6-3, 6-2.

No. 19 Flavia Pennetta, No. 23 Lucie Safarova and No. 28 Yanina Wickmayer were among the first-round losers.

Most of the local attention Monday was on 19-year-old Bernard Tomic, who rallied from two sets down to beat No. 22-seeded Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.

Eighth-seeded Mardy Fish, the highest ranked of the U.S. men, had a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Gilles Muller to progress along with 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, No. 7 Tomas Berdych, No. 10 Nicolas Almagro, No. 13 Alexandr Dolgopolov, No. 18 Feliciano Lopez, No. 21 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and No. 30 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.

No. 25 Juan Monaco, No. 28 Ivan Ljubicic and No. 31 Jurgen Melzer joined Verdasco as other seeded players to lose.

Agencies

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