Melbourne: Defending champion and second seed Rafael Nadal wore down Australian Peter Luczak to begin his Australian Open campaign with a straight sets victory on Monday.
The Spanish world number two, bidding for his seventh Grand Slam title, overcame the 78th-ranked ranked Luczak 7-6 (7/0), 6-1, 6-4 in two hours 34 minutes.
Nadal, who is working his way back to full fitness after injuries blighted his last season, will next play either Argentina's Leonardo Mayer or Slovakia's Lukas Lacko with a potential quarter-final looming against Andy Murray.
Nadal, who beat Roger Federer in a gripping five-set final here last year, has not claimeda title since winning on the Barcelona clay last April.
He encountered a spirited opening from Luczak, cheered on him by his home crowd in Rod Laver Arena, and lost his service in the eighth game before breaking straight back in the next game.
The opening set went to a tiebreaker but Nadal stormed through without dropping a point to seize the initiative.
Luczak appeared to lose steam after the loss of the first set and Nadal broke him twice to wrap up the second set in 33 minutes and broke him again in the opening game of the third to control the match.
Nadal dominated the points, hitting 35 winners to Luczak's 29 and broke the Australian's service a total of four times to dropping his own serve just once in the first set.