Nadal beats crowd, Luczak to reach second round

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By Ian Ransom

The six-times grand slam champion came back a break down in the first set before wrapping up the tiebreaker to love and breezing through the last two sets in just over an hour.

"I never thought it was going to be an easy match before going on court," Nadal, who last year ground down Roger Federer in a classic five-set final, told reporters.

"I was playing shorter than usual. I made more mistakes ... After (the tiebreaker) I started to play longer, I started to play more aggressive, so I started to play more my tennis."

Far from being over-awed, 70th-ranked Luczak had the Spaniard on the back foot early, engaging him in lengthy baseline rallies and attacking his serve with gusto to the delight of a packed crowd at Rod Laver Arena.

The strategy paid off as Luczak broke the world number two's serve to lead 5-3, slapping a sharp cross-court return that clipped the line on the game's sixth break point and brought thunderous cheers.

But nerves got the better of the Australian, who double-faulted twice when serving for the set to allow Nadal to break back, then promptly collapsed in a heap in the tiebreaker.

"I gave it my all but he was just too good ... You sort of only get one chance against a guy like that."

After blasting a forehand cross-court winner to seal the set, Nadal resumed normal service in the second, breaking twice to race to a 5-0 lead as Luczak's risk-taking strategy quickly unravelled.

Nadal, who lost his number one ranking to Federer last year after being sidelined with knee injuries, said he was feeling confident after good preparation in the lead-up, but said last year's victory was far from his mind.

"No, I am thinking about try to play good tournament. Sure, when I walk around and I see my picture there, being on the floor, so I will always have nice memories."

The 23-year-old next faces the winner of the match between Argentina's Leonardo Mayer and Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)