ICYMI at Australian Open: Rafa's romp, CoCo's banana blunder

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Could Kyrgios win the Australian Open? (1:34)

Nick Kyrgios is going in to the Australian Open as the second or third favourite to win, according to Brad Gilbert. (1:34)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- A note for all up-and-coming players wanting to announce themselves on the big stage: Avoid a first-round Rafa encounter at all costs.

After a 90-minute Rafael Nadal power exhibition on Rod Laver Arena on Monday night, Victor Estrella Burgos certainly won't want a rematch anytime soon.

Nadal simply mauled the world No. 83 on Rod Laver Arena, taking his first step toward bettering last year's runners-up finish after that thrilling five-set classic against Roger Federer.

Monday's onslaught was vintage Nadal. The Spaniard allowed his outclassed opponent only three games during the 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 demolition -- tied for the fewest in a completed major match in Nadal's career.

It continued Nadal's history of beating down opponents in the opening rounds of major tournaments.

2018: AUS Victor Estrella Burgos 6-1 6-1 6-1
2016: French Sam Groth 6-1 6-1 6-1
2014: French Robby Ginepri 6-0 6-3 6-0
2009: AUS Christophe Rochus 6-0 6-2 6-2
2004: AUS Michal Tabara 6-1 6-2 6-2
2012: French Simone Bolelli 6-2 6-2 6-1


Australia has a love-hate relationship with Nick Kyrgios, thanks to his myriad controversies. But his home crowd at Hisense Arena was full of support during his dominant opening-round clash against Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva.

Many view Kyrgios as a future Slam winner, and with a depleted men's draw, will he finally bring it all together? It's a big ask; his best result at Melbourne Park came in 2015 when he reached the quarterfinals as a teenager.

But keep in mind, an Aussie man hasn't won the Australian Open since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

In fact, homegrown talents haven't enjoyed much major success in recent years (or decades). Look at this list:

Last homegrown men to win respective Slams
2016: Andy Murray, Wimbledon
2003: Andy Roddick, US Open
1983: Yannick Noah, French Open
1976: Mark Edmondson, Australian Open

Following his 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory, Kyrgios was quick to display his cheeky side when interviewed on court.


Day 1 wasn't kind to the U.S. contingent. In fact, it was downright unfriendly. By the close of business Monday, several American heavyweights -- including Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, CoCo Vandeweghe, Jack Sock and John Isner -- suddenly had more time to explore Melbourne than they would have initially planned for.

For Stephens, it was her eighth consecutive defeat since she won the US Open in September. She was, however, not overly concerned by the 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 loss to No. 34-ranked Zhang Shuai.

"Nothing's going wrong," she said "Just the first two tournaments of the year. And it happens. I'm sure it's happened to other players, as well.

"As I said, not going to get too down. There's many more tournaments to play, and a long season ahead."

Williams wasn't beating herself up either, having succumbed to Belinda Bencic 6-3, 7-5.

"I don't think I played a bad match. She just played above and beyond," the seven-time major winner, who was contesting her 18th Australian Open, said. "I just have to give her credit for that."

Isner, meanwhile, was all at sea during the 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 loss to Australian Matthew Ebden.

Isner certainly isn't used to departing majors this early; his loss snapped a 15-match winning streak in first rounds in Grand Slams; it was his first such loss since the 2014 Australian Open.

For Ebden, it was his maiden win over a top-20 player in a major and snapped a 10-match losing streak against top-20 players across all tour-level events.


And the nominee for this year's strangest code violation goes to ... Vandeweghe.

A code violation for eating a banana too slowly? Seriously? Yes, that happened, and it threw the volatile American off course during her surprise first-round loss against Hungarian Timea Babos.

Vandeweghe was hit with the violation for taking too long to return to the court because she had yet to finish eating a banana, which she claimed had not been provided to her on time at the change of ends.

"I'm waiting for the bananas," she fumed at chair umpire Fergus Murphy. "Why should I feel uncomfortable because the court is ill-prepared?"

Murphy was having none of it though, slugging her with a code violation for wasting time.

The end result? A 7-6 (4), 6-2 defeat ... and a major lesson learned for Vandeweghe. Oh, and and plenty of fodder for headline writers.


Now here's a name to keep an eye on: Marta Kostyuk. The 15-year-old qualifier from Ukraine is through to the second round of the women's draw after defeating 25th seed Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-2 in just 57 minutes.

Kostyuk is the first player born in 2002 to win a match in a major. She also won the Australian Open girls' singles title last year.