MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal's quest to complete his "Rafa Slam" at the Australian Open started with a first-round victory that lasted only 47 minutes and helped conserve plenty of energy.
Nadal led 6-0, 5-0 when opponent Marcos Daniel retired today with a left knee injury.
The 24-year-old Spaniard sympathized with Daniel. Nadal retired from the last Australian Open with an injured knee in a quarterfinal loss to Andy Murray. But he won the next three majors and is now aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam trophies at the same time.
"It's terrible feeling, for sure. I wish him all the best for a fast recovery," Nadal said.
Vera Zvonareva began her bid to reach a third consecutive Grand Slam final with a commanding 6-2, 6-1 win over Sybille Bammer in the opening match today at Rod Laver Arena.
Zvonareva dominated the first set against Bammer, 30, and tightened her grip on the match in the second. She didn't allow the Austrian to hold until the sixth game.
"It's tough to play your best tennis in the first match. The most important thing is I've done what I needed to do and moved through to the next one," Zvonareva said.
Fifth-seeded Samantha Stosur, a Tampa resident, defeated wild-card entry Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-1. Jelena Jankovic, the seventh seed, put away Alla Kudryavtseva 6-0, 7-6 (7-5).
Nadal's easy run to the second round came the day after chief rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic got their campaigns started with straight-sets wins Monday.
Defending champion Federer dismantled Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. The 16-time Grand Slam champion is aiming to become only the second man to win the Australian Open five times; Roy Emerson won six.
Djokovic took no chances against Marcus Granollers, soundly beating the 24-year-old 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
Eighth-seeded Andy Roddick had a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Jan Hajek.