Short offseason isn't stopping Djokovic
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Job done for the top seeds at the Australian Open. All of them overcame the first hurdle.
Women's top seed Caroline Wozniacki -- but she is far from the favorite -- got past tricky foe Gisela Dulko, with Kim Clijsters sweeping past a former No. 1 whose best days are behind her, Dinara Safina.
Here are five things we learned from the opening round in Melbourne.
Novak is pumped
Players usually moan about the short offseason. Not Novak Djokovic this year.
Djokovic says ending his 2010 in December, post-Davis Cup final, actually helped.
The personable Serb was downright ruthless against Spaniard Marcel Granollers, who sits at a respectable -- if a little inflated -- 42nd in the rankings. Djokovic swept Granollers off the court in 91 minutes, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
"Very short offseason," Djokovic said. "But I didn't lose the feeling of hitting the ball well. As soon as I started playing tennis again, I just felt comfortable on court."
An inspired and maturing Djokovic could be trouble for Federer in the semifinals, assuming it's not overly hot.
Venus is as ready as she can be
Entering the Australian Open, Venus Williams' last competitive match came at the U.S. Open. Blame her knee.
So more than a few thought Williams might struggle against Italian roadrunner Sara Errani. A rusty Williams would cough up the unforced errors if forced to hit ball after ball, the thinking went. It didn't happen.
Recovering from a slow start, Williams cruised 6-3, 6-2, striking eight aces and pummeling Errani's second serve.
"It felt good to go out there and play clean tennis," Williams said.
Serena Williams, who is out due to a foot injury, has won the Australian Open in odd-numbered years since 2003 (she is also the defending champion). How Venus would love to maintain the family's stronghold.
Justine is a fighter
Justine Henin, last year's finalist who has been dogged by inactivity, needed to use all of her battling qualities to fend off Indian qualifier Sania Mirza 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. Mirza wasn't your typical qualifier, mind you, as a wrist injury largely led to her slipping from inside the top 40 to outside the top 100.
Armed with one of the hardest forehands in the women's game, Mirza barely missed in the first set. Henin hung tough and eventually coasted to victory.
"There are many things we can talk about that weren't good in my game," Henin said. "But I think my attitude was really positive. I kept fighting in the second set when I was feeling a bit down."
Grinding out wins in Melbourne is becoming old hat for Henin. Five of her seven victories in 2010 were nail-biters.
A-Rod is as honest as ever
Andy Roddick put in hard work in the offseason, trying to make up for the lost time in 2010 when he was afflicted with mono. He's seeded eighth. If the seeds stick, he'd face Federer -- 20-2 versus Roddick -- in the quarterfinals.
Upset with the draw, Andy?
"I've put myself in a position where I'm ranked 8," Roddick said. "So to be pissed off about any draw that I created for myself in a quarterfinal, again, is not smart, not fair, and it's a little presumptuous."
Roddick gets a breather in the second round against Russian Igor Kunitsyn.
There's hope for the Aussies
It's always nice when the home team does well. Jelena Dokic's journey to the quarterfinals in 2009, for instance, was memorable.
Samantha Stosur predictably battered confident young American Lauren Davis on Tuesday and has a chance to go deep, but controversial 18-year-old Bernard Tomic really stole the show.
It seems the better the opponent, the better Tomic performs, and he upset Jeremy Chardy, ranked 44th, in straight sets.
Tomic was on the firing line in December when he missed Tennis Australia's wild-card playoff due to illness -- only to be spotted hitting elsewhere.
With his Aussie Open wild card in doubt, Tomic won three rounds of qualifying in Sydney, two against top-75 opposition.
He could meet Rafa in Round 3.
Ravi Ubha is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.
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