Novak Djokovic showed a few signs of rustiness after the off-season but still comfortably reached the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 victory over Lukas Lacko on Monday (January 13).
It was the first step on a path Djokovic hopes will take him to a fourth successive title at Melbourne Park and he wrapped up the victory with a thundering ace after 110 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
Slovakian Lacko had the temerity to break Djokovic's serve in the first set but the Serbian broke straight back and once he had secured a tight second set in the tiebreak, a three-set victory never looked in doubt.
The second seed, who was watched by his new co-coach Boris Becker, next faces Argentine Leonardo Mayer, who earlier beat Spain's Albert Montanes 6-1 6-3 6-1.
In the women's singles Thailand's world number 88 Luksika Kumkhum sprang the biggest upset by dumping sixth seed and former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-2 1-6 6-4 in her first match against a top 10 player.
The pressure told on the imposing Czech in the final set, as she sprayed a forehand to concede two match points and pushed another wide to lose the match.
American Venus Williams bid an early farewell to the tournament when she lost 2-6 6-4 6-4 to Ekaterina Makarova.
Presented by Adam Justice