• What They Said, Australian Open, Day One

Djokovic delighted with win over Mathieu

ESPN staff
January 14, 2013
Maria Sharapova completed a grand slam of double bagels in her win over Olga Puchkova © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic opened up the defence of his title with a routine win over Paul Henri Mathieu and he was happy his with efforts. He said: "It was a good performance for a first round. I felt I was in control of the match in the opening two sets. Then, you know, he started playing better, striking the ball quite well from both sides on the baseline. I thought he was serving really precisely and really well. It was tough to break. But in the end, that 11th game, I made some good shots, good points, you know, managed to go through straight sets."

Djokovic is keeping an eye out on Andy Murray and co, as he said: "At the start of the season you want to see how everybody's playing, how everybody's feeling, you know, how everybody confident is on the court or not. It's the start of the season, so it still takes time to kind of get into that rhythm that you have to maintain throughout the whole year. But we try to mostly focus on ourselves and then, you know, I guess the results will follow."

Venus Williams made a fine start with a straight-sets win over Galina Voskoboeva and she was happy with her form. She said: "The stats looked good for me. I haven't seen them all yet, but I got a high first serve percentage and more winners than errors, so that always makes a good match. I don't think my opponent quite got the hang of, it's hard to play the first match in a major, first thing of the year, and that can be a lot of pressure. I did my best to just close it out."

Maria Sharapova came into the match with concerns over her fitness, having not played a warm-up game, but she was impressive in beating Olga Puchkova 6-0 6-0. She said: "I didn't want to focus on the fact I hadn't played a lot of matches. Just wanted to focus on just what was ahead of me and really concentrate and, be aggressive. I also never faced her before again. So it was just one of those matches where I didn't try to worry about her too much. I just tried to think about what I had to do. You always want to improve on things and work on certain things that you feel will help you in the later rounds certainly towards the end of the second week. But, yeah, overall I was happy with the way I started, considering I didn't play any matches coming in."

Sam Stosur was a battling winner over Chang Kai-chen and she was happy to advance in her home event. She said: "I desperately wanted to win out there today, but I didn't necessarily feel it any more than, you know, my first rounds in grand slams. I feel very happy, a little bit relieved, and, yeah, just nice to get through that first round finally. You know, from here hopefully I can loosen up a little bit and keep playing better and better."

Tomas Berdych was a comfortable winner over Michael Russell and he is happy to be flying under the radar. He said: "I would say it's maybe even better for myself. I mean, let's leave all the pressure on them. You know, everybody's talking how many grand slams this guy can win, that one. I mean, you get so much pressure on the court, and you don't have to have it around, as well. Those four guys, they were able to win grand slams, many grand slams. So probably they deserve it more than us so far."

David Ferrer overcame a scare to advance © AP

Jelena Jankovic was a comfortable winner over Joanna Larsson and feels there is more to come. She said: "I did enough to win. But obviously there was a lot of things that I could have done better, that I've done well. It's okay. For the first win, I'm happy to get through. It's never easy playing an opponent you don't know in conditions like this."

Angelique Kerber overcame a tough opponent and the conditions to see off Elina Svitolina in straight sets. She said: "The match was very hard today because she is playing very well and I didn't really know her much before the match, so I was just trying to focus on myself and play my game," Kerber said after her win.

"It was also really windy which made it tough, but I think the first round of a Grand Slam is always a big challenge."

Lleyton Hewitt emerged from his three-set loss to Janko Tipsarevic with great credit and felt his opponent was in superb form. He said: "He played as well as he could play, there's no doubt about it. He's only won four titles. There's not too many guys in the top 10 consistently that have only won four titles. But I've seen him play big matches … he's a quality player."

Ana Ivanovic ran out a comfortable winner over Melinda Czink but is not getting carried away and has her fingers crossed that the ankle she twisted is fine. She said: "Last year, quarter-finals of US Open was the first time I have play quarters since winning the French Open. So it's very hard talking about winning. But I definitely feel my game, it's at a higher level than it was. There's tough opponents out there, lots of girls playing well. I feel like I can challenge all of them. It's going to be a good test to see how far I can go."

Asked about her ankle, Ivanovic said: "I'm definitely going to put some ice and do some treatments on it tonight. Hopefully it's fine. It didn't swell."

Julia Goerges beat Vera Dushevina 7-5 2-6 6-4 and was far from happy with her display. She said: "I don't think it was really a good performance from my side. Honestly, a win is a win in the end and you're happy to be through to the second round but I have to put my level up and really work on my serve. I didn't really play my game, I played quite flat which suits her (Dushevina) and I didn't play with a lot of spin which is the safer way."

The 11th seed Marion Bartoli was pushed hard but she steeled herself to claim a 6-2 6-4 win over Anabel Medina Garrigues. She said: "I always felt like I had a bit of an advantage physically maybe on Anabel. I felt really good, I didn't feel tired at all … so I felt I was a bit stronger than her, and that helped me to get through. I think it was important to fight right until the end, especially in that first set and really show her that I was ready for anything."

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