Nadal, Roddick advance on rainy day

1/18/2010 - Tennis

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Defending men's champion and second-seeded Rafael Nadal found his rhythm after a slow start to the first set and beat Australia's Peter Luczak 7-6 (0), 6-1, 6-4 on Monday in the first round of the Australian Open.

Nadal won his first Grand Slam singles title on hard courts -- to go with his four at the French Open and his one Wimbledon title -- when he beat Roger Federer in last year's final at Melbourne Park.

The Spanish left-hander dominated the first-set tiebreaker and much of the remainder of the match.

"I'm always happy to win the first round of a Grand Slam," Nadal said. "Peter was playing really well in the first set but he made three errors in the tiebreak that helped me. I knew it was going to be a tough match."

In other first-round men's matches, U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro beat American Michael Russell 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 and No. 5 Andy Murray defeated South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.

Seventh-seeded Andy Roddick beat Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

"First rounds are always a little uncomfortable, especially at a Slam," Roddick said. "You're kind of built up, you're maybe a little bit overanxious. But I thought it was all right."

The match at Hisense Arena, the tournament's second covered court, was suspended at 2-2 in second set so that organizers could close the roof, which had been opened despite rain in the area.

The former No. 1-ranked Roddick, who lost to Roger Federer in the semifinals here last year, warmed up for the season's first major by winning the Brisbane International on Jan. 10.

The 27-year-old American will next play the winner of a first-round match between Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia and Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil.

Murray had no weather-related trouble on the main court later Monday, although the 22-year-old British player encountered different conditions from what he expected.

"Little bit weird playing under the roof here -- first time I've done it," he said.

American Mardy Fish was beaten in his first-round match, losing 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 to wild-card entry Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan. American Wayne Odesnik beat Slovenian qualifier Blaz Kavcic 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Federer was scheduled to play his first-round match Tuesday against Russia's Igor Andreev. Rain is again in the forecast.

Police ejected 11 people from Melbourne Park on Monday for disruptive behavior and smuggling flares onto the grounds. A group of Croatian supporters was also denied entry after setting off a flare.

In between rain delays, No. 11-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile beat Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 and Florian Mayer had an impressive comeback to beat Philipp Petzschner 0-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

No. 24 Ivan Ljubicic had a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over 16-year-old wild-card entry Jason Kubler, the youngest player in the draw.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.