World number 2 Roger Federer and six-time champion Novak Djokovic powered to their respective first round victories in the Australian Open. The 12-times Grand Slam champion, Djokovic, seeded an unfamiliar 14, was too strong for American Donald Young, winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in 1 hour 51 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
Meanwhile, Federer brushed aside his Slovenian opponent Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. The ageless Swiss marvel, rated as the favourite to win his 20th Grand Slam title, thrilled the Rod Laver Arena crowd with a virtuoso performance. The second seed cruised to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win in 1hr 39min and will next play German Jan-Lennard Struff. It improved his Australian Open record to 88-13 in his 19th campaign Down Under.
The Serbian former world number one has been out of action for six months. But he looked in good shape as he worked his way into the second round where he will play either France's Gael Monfils or Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar. Djokovic, wearing a flesh-coloured protective guard on his right serving elbow, saluted the cheering crowd as he won on his sixth match point.
It was an impressive performance, with the Serb breaking Young's left-handed serve six times, hitting 33 winners and conceding only 27 unforced errors. "There is no better place to start than here in Australia, I love coming here, I love playing here," Djokovic told the crowd.
"It's been a long period without any official matches but I spent as much quality time as I could with my family. "I wanted to start with the right intensity, which I have, I played perfect tennis in the first couple of sets and Donald came back in the third set."
(With PTI Inputs)