SPORTS

The Latest: Nadal advances at Melbourne with win over Mayer

  • Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a forehand return to Germany's Florian Mayer during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

    Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a forehand return to Germany's Florian Mayer during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)  (The Associated Press)

  • United States' Serena Williams yells out while playing Switzerland's Belinda Bencic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

    United States' Serena Williams yells out while playing Switzerland's Belinda Bencic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)  (The Associated Press)

  • Britain's Johanna Konta makes a forehand return to Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

    Britain's Johanna Konta makes a forehand return to Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Tuesday at the Australian Open (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

Five years after their last meeting, Rafael Nadal beat Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a first-round match at Melbourne Park.

The pair last met on clay at Rome in 2012, when Nadal won in straight sets.

Playing an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena in 36 degree Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) temperatures, the ninth-seeded Nadal looked sharp despite having taken two injury breaks last year. He played only four matches after a fourth-round loss at the U.S. Open in September.

He's already gone one round longer than last year here. In 2016, he lost to Fernando Verdasco in the first round at Melbourne Park, his only first-round loss at the Australian Open and only the second of his career at a Grand Slam, the other being Wimbledon in 2013 to Steve Darcis.

___

2:40 p.m.

Milos Raonic and Dustin Brown renewed their Grand Slam duel on Tuesday and the result was the same as the last time — a three-set win for the tall Canadian.

Raonic and Brown met for the first time in the first round of last year's U.S. Open, where Raonic won in straight sets.

On Tuesday, Raonic defeated Brown 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Last year as the 13th-seeded player, Raonic had his best performance at Melbourne Park, advancing to the semifinals before losing to Andy Murray.

The 26-year-old Raonic is playing in his seventh Australian Open and in his 24th major. His best result so far has been a run to the Wimbledon final last year.

___

1:55 p.m.

Serena Williams took her first step toward Australian Open title No. 7 and Grand Slam singles championship No. 23 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Belinda Bencic.

Williams broke the Swiss player's service in the 10th game to clinch the first set. In the second set, she pulled out to a 5-0 lead but Bencic staged a comeback, breaking Williams' serve the first time she served for the match.

Serving for the match at 5-3, Williams double-faulted on her first match point before clinching it on her second when Bencic netted a backhand.

The last time the pair met — in the Toronto semifinals in 2015 — Bencic won in three sets.

Williams lost the Australian Open final last year to Angelique Kerber but won last year's Wimbledon title to equal Steffi Graf's Open era mark of 22 Grand Slam singles titles.

Williams will play Lucie Safarova, who beat Yanina Wickmayer on Tuesday, in the second round.

___

12:45 p.m.

Johanna Konta has won her opening match at Melbourne Park, beating Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 7-5, 6-2 to open play Tuesday at Margaret Court Arena.

Konta was a surprise semifinalist at last year's Australian Open, kick-starting a strong 2016 season which saw her break into the top 10 by the end of last year.

The British player won last week's Sydney International, dominating No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets in the final.

___

12:15 p.m.

Karolina Pliskova has backed up her strong performance at last year's U.S. Open with a first-round win at Melbourne Park, beating Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 6-0 to open play Tuesday at Rod Laver Arena.

The fifth-seeded Pliskova, who beat Serena Williams in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows last year before losing the U.S. Open final to Angelique Kerber, took a 4-1 first-set lead in under 20 minutes.

Pliskova has never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park, losing each of the last two years at that stage to Ekaterina Makarova.

___

11 a.m.

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are set to begin quests for their seventh Australian Open titles on Tuesday at Melbourne Park under sunny skies and temperatures not quite as high as forecast.

Williams, who plays Belinda Bencic in the second match on Rod Laver Arena, is also looking to add to her 22nd Grand Slam singles titles, which would break the record for the Open era.

Djokovic, who has a tough match against veteran Fernando Verdasco to open night play at Rod Laver, has won the Australian Open title five out of the last six years.

Also in action Tuesday are third-seeded Milos Raonic, 14-time major winner iRafael Nadal and Agnieszka Radwanska.

The original steamy weather forecast has been scaled back to a high of 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).