Ominous Djokovic crushes Chardy in Australian Open warning

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Novak Djokovic. (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic. (Getty Images)

Defending champion Novak Djokovic said he played "flawless and dominant" tennis to blast past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Monday in an ominous start to his bid for an unprecedented ninth Australian Open title.

The Serbian world number one, who clinched his 17th Grand Slam in last year's gripping Melbourne final against Dominic Thiem, wasted little energy in the 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 romp in just 91 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

The writing was on the wall with Chardy failing to take a set off the Serb in 13 previous meetings.

"It felt great. I mean, I started the match really well, broke his serve and was pretty much a flawless match," he said, adding that he felt "relaxed and comfortable".

"Especially on my service games, I was very dominant. Just overall, I think every shot that I executed tonight was really good and on a high level.

"I'm very pleased with the way I opened up the Australian Open."

Djokovic, chasing an 18th Slam crown to close in on the 20 held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, has likened his relationship with the Australian Open to "a love affair".

And he clearly enjoyed himself, dishing up a masterclass for the socially-distanced fans in the stadium.

"It feels great, so great to see people back in the stadium," he said.

"I'm really glad to see a lot of people actually -- this is the most I've seen on a tennis court in 12 months."

"Sometimes we take these things (crowds) for granted, but very very grateful to see you all," he added.

The 33-year-old broke Chardy in the opening game and was never troubled, racing through the set in 32 minutes, with the Frenchman winning just two points off the Serb's service game.

It was a similar scenario in a lopsided second set, which only lasted 22 minutes, as Chardy struggled to cope with the ferocity of Djokovic's serving, which routinely clocked in at more than 200 kph (124 mph).

Chardy, who made the semi-finals of the warm-up Murray River Open tournament, surrendered meekly, with Djokovic winning the match with his ninth ace.

"Of course, you are expected to win most of the times as a top player and kind of ease your way through the first rounds," said Djokovic.

"But, you know, I don't see it that way, obviously. You still have to do your job on the court. So I was sticking to the game plan."

The Serb has won a record eight times in Melbourne, the scene of his maiden Grand Slam triumph in 2008, and is unbeaten on the famous blue courts since his shock defeat by South Korea's Hyeon Chung in the 2018 round of 16.

He next faces American Frances Tiafoe in a tricky side of the draw with 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka and former world number three Milos Raonic potential obstacles en route to the quarter-finals.

"It's the first time I will face him, he's definitely one of the up-and-coming American tennis players," Djokovic said of Tiafoe. "I'm looking forward to the next challenge."

Results from day one of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday:

Men's singles

First round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-3, 6-1, 6-2

Frances Tiafoe (USA) bt Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 6-2

Reilly Opelka (USA) bt Lu Yen-hsun (TPE) 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3

Taylor Fritz (USA x27) bt Albert Ramos (ESP) 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6)

Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x17) bt Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Marc Polmans (AUS) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3

Corentin Moutet (FRA) bt John Millman (AUS) 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Milos Raonic (CAN x14) bt Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2

Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x10) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3

Pedro Martinez (ESP) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1

Alexander Bublik (KAZ) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4

Dusan Lajovic (SRB x23) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

Adrian Mannarino (FRA x32) bt Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2)

Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) bt Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3

Maxime Cressy (USA) bt Taro Daniel (JPN) 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

Alexander Zverev (GER x6) bt Marcos Giron (USA) 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-2

Dominic Thiem (AUT x3) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-3

Dominik Koepfer (GER) bt Hugo Dellien (BOL) 7-5, 6-2, 6-4

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt Frederico Silva (POR) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Ugo Humbert (FRA x29) bt Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x18) bt Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)

Alex Bolt (AUS) bt Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

Jiri Vesely (CZE) bt Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-3

Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x15) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN) 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2

Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 3-6, 6-1, 4-1 ret

James Duckworth (AUS) bt Damir Džumhur (BIH) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x20) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2

Egor Gerasimov (BLR) bt Benoît Paire (FRA x25) 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5

Aslan Karatsev (RUS) bt Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4

Alexandre Muller (FRA) bt Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-3

Diego Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt Elias Ymer (SWE) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 2-6, 6-2

Women's singles

First round

Bianca Andreescu (CAN x8) bt Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROM) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) bt Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 7-5, 6-2

Venus Williams (USA) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-5, 6-2

Sara Errani (ITA) bt Qiang Wang (CHN x30) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x19) bt Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 2-6, 7-5, 7-5

Rebecca Marino (CAN) bt Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-0, 7-6 (11/9)

Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Patricia Tig (ROM) 6-2, 6-1

Petra Kvitova (CZE x9) bt Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-3, 6-4

Zarina Diyas (KAZ) bt Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-2, 7-5

Bernarda Pera (USA) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x23) 6-0, 6-4

Ons Jabeur (TUN x27) bt Andrea Petkovic (GER) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) bt Mayo Hibi (JPN) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4

Caroline Garcia (FRA) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 7-6 (8/6), 6-3

Naomi Osaka (JPN x3) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-1, 6-2

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x7) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-0, 6-4

Darya Kasatkina (RUS) bt Katie Boulter (GBR) 6-1, 6-4

Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Valeria Savinykh (RUS) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (10/7)

Anastasia Potapova (RUS) bt Alison Riske (USA x24) 6-2, 6-1

Timea Babos (HUN) bt Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) 7-6 (7/0), 6-4

Nina Stojanovic (SRB) bt Irina Begu (ROM) 6-3, 6-4

Serena Williams (USA x10) bt Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-1, 6-1

Iga Swiatek (POL x15) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-1, 6-3

Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 6-3, 6-3

Fiona Ferro (FRA) bt Katerina Siniaková (CZE) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-4

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x17) bt Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Veronika Kudermetova (RUS x32) bt Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)

Varvara Gracheva (RUS) bt Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (10/7)

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2, 6-1

Simona Halep (ROM x2) bt Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 6-2, 6-1

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