World No.1 Novak Djokovic has made a hugely impressive start to his Australian Open title defence.
Chasing a record-equalling sixth Open title, the Serb burst out of the blocks on Monday to outclass rising South Korean star Hyeon Chung 6-3 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes.
Djokovic’s second-round opponent will be either talented Frenchman Quentin Halys or Ivan Dodig from Croatia.
Chung was voted the most improved player on tour by his peers in 2015 after his year-end ranking skyrocketed from 173 to 51.
But the 19-year-old was no match for Djokovic, who is aiming to equal the record of six Australian Open men’s titles currently held by Australian Roy Emerson.
“Undoubtedly I had the best season of my life in 2015,” said Djokovic, who won three of the four majors, with his only misstep coming at the French Open when he lost the final to Swiss Stan Wawrinka.
“It’s been a remarkable season.
“I enjoyed it very much.
“I did not lose many matches and tried to stay healthy.”
Top-eight seeds Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych also made short work of their opening-round opponents on a hot day one at Melbourne Park.
Japanese star Nishikori powered past Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 6-3 6-3 to set up a second-round clash with long-time friend and training partner Austin Krajicek from the United States.
Berdych, the No.6 seed who has reached the semis at the past two Australian Opens, dispatched Indian Yuki Bhambri 7-5 6-1 6-2 with a minimum of fuss.
The seventh-seeded Nishikori also has a good recent record at Melbourne Park, having advanced to at least the last 16 in each of the past four years.
“It was hot but luckily I got finished quickly,” said Nishikori.
“It’s very dry here so actually I didn’t sweat much.
“But it’s important – especially if you want to play two weeks here.
“I think I’m going to play a lot in the daytime so I hope I can finish quick in every match.”
It was the first time in 11 appearances at the Australian Open that the 32-year-old Kohlschreiber had been beaten in the opening round.
Nishikori’s second-round opponent is the 25-year-old Krajicek, who made short work of Chinese qualifier Wu Di, winning 6-4 6-1 6-3 in only his third appearance at a major.
Belgian No.15 seed David Goffin overcame a slow start to down Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4.
Big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic was the first seeded casualty, the No.22 seed retiring from his first-round match against Argentine Federico Delbonis while trailing 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 2-1.