Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Novak Djokovic's quest for a three-
peat got off to an easy start.
The top-seeded Serbian was a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 winner over Paul-Henri Mathieu as
play commenced at the 2013 Australian Open on Monday.
Djokovic is attempting to become the first man in the Open era to win three
straight Australian Open titles. He also won at Melbourne Park in 2008.
And Djokovic won't have to deal with Rafael Nadal, who is not participating in
the event due to a virus. Djokovic defeated Nadal in last year's final in a
five-set, five-hour and 53-minute marathon.
Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych was a 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 victor over Michael Russell.
Berdych won 6-of-12 break chances and served up five aces.
In other matches Monday, 10th-seeded Nicolas Almagro fought off Steve Johnson
in a five-set thriller 7-5, 6-7 (7-4), 6-2, 6-7 (7-6), 6-2, No. 15 Stanislas
Wawrinka defeated Cedrik- Marcel Stebe 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, No. 16 Kei Nishikori had
a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Victor Hanescu, No. 22 Fernando Vardasco
was a 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over David Goffin, 26th-seeded Jurgen
Melzer routed Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 and No. 32. Julien Benneteau
downed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
The Sports Network