The Latest: Nadal loses to Verdasco at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The latest from the Australian Open on Tuesday (all times local):
Fernando Verdasco has knocked fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal out of the opening Grand Slam of the season, beating his fellow Spanish lefthander 7-6 (6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round.
It reversed an epic 5-hour, 14-minute semifinal the pair played in 2009 at Melbourne Park, which Nadal won in five sets and went on to take the title.
Verdasco clinched the fourth-set tiebreaker with an ace to send it to a fifth and deciding set, then after an exchange of breaks went ahead with a decisive break in the sixth game and held in the next to go up 5-2. He won the match in 4 hours, 41 minutes, on a service return winner.
Coming into the match, Nadal had won 14 of 16 previous meetings between the pair.
Andy Murray thinks it's ''hypocritical'' that tennis tournaments are sponsored by betting companies as the sport tries to combat match-fixing.
A day after reports by BBC and BuzzFeed alleged that tennis authorities were suppressing evidence of match-fixing at the sport's highest level, Murray said he didn't agree with the fact the Australian Open is being sponsored this year by a London-based betting agency.
''I think it's a little bit hypocritical, really,'' he said. ''You know, because I don't believe the players are allowed to be sponsored by betting companies but then the tournaments are. I don't really understand how it all works. I think it's a bit strange.''
Murray also said the tours should do a better job educating players – especially younger ones – what to do in case they are approached by match fixers.
''You have to be proactive I think with things like this and go and speak to the players rather than them reading about it in the newspapers or, you know, listening to it on the TV or the radio,'' he said.
''Because I know when I was growing up – I mean, certainly throughout my whole career – I was never warned about that or told about that or anyone said to me how you should handle that if you're in that situation.''
Fortunately for Milos Raonic, he didn't have to grind out a win against Lucas Pouille in the first round at Melbourne Park. He's got his teeth protected, though, just in case.
The Canadian, who beat Pouille 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, has started wearing a mouth guard during matches to prevent himself from grinding his teeth.
''It just causes stress and headaches,'' he said after the match.
Raonic said he got used to playing with the guard pretty quickly, though he acknowledged ''fiddling with it too much'' on the court.
When asked if his dentist recommended he wear it, he replied with a smile, ''No, a chiropractor. Maybe it's helping my back.''
Second-seeded Andy Murray has had little trouble advancing to the second round, beating sometime practice partner Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.
Murray, who has lost in all four finals he has contested at Melbourne Park, broke Zverev's serve to open the second and third sets and dominated his opponent throughout. Zverev wasn't helped by seven double-faults.
Murray finished off by breaking the 18-year-old Zverev's service. Murray saved all six break points he faced.
''It seemed like all the games were going to deuce,'' Murray said. ''He hung in until the end, made it tough and fought hard. He's young but he's one of the best young players in the world and he's going to be around for a long time.''
Murray will next play Samuel Groth, who beat Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (6), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Venus Williams has been knocked out of the first round 6-4, 6-2 by Britain's Johanna Konta. The eighth-seeded Williams reached the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park last year to kick off a resurgent season that saw her return to the top 10 for the first time since 2011.
Against Konta, however, she struggled to connect with her first serve and couldn't match the Australian-born Konta's power from the baseline. She had just one ace compared to five for the Briton.
''When the draw came out and I saw who I was playing, I thought `I just hope I stay out there more than an hour,''' Konta said after the match.
Konta was making her Australian Open debut, but has played well in the past against top-10 opponents. She beat No. 9 Garbine Muguruza on the way to the fourth round of the U.S. Open last year and also had a win over No. 2 Simona Halep.
Madison Keys had a slow start in her return to Melbourne Park, but advanced to the second round with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over Zarina Diyas.
Keys, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal last year at the Australian Open, fended off two set points in the ninth game before coming back to win the first in a tiebreaker. She then raced out to a 5-0 lead in the second set to put the match away.
''I think being down set point almost helped me. I thought, `You're down, keep playing. You can only lose the set,''' she said. ''I definitely had to dig deep and figure it out.''
Keys has a new coach to start the new season. Last year, she had a successful partnership with former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, reaching the second week at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
But Davenport couldn't travel fulltime with Keys because of her family and commentating responsibilities, so Keys is now working with former ATP player Jesse Levine.
Milos Raonic followed up his victory at the Brisbane International with a clinical, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 first-round win over Lucas Pouille on the second day of the season's first major.
Raonic, who at No. 13 has his lowest seeding at a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2013, is aiming to improve on his run to the quarterfinals here last year, when he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
The 25-year-old Canadian, who recently started working with former No. 1-ranked Carlos Moya as a coach, didn't face a breakpoint on his serve and had little difficulty in winning 89 percent of points on successful first serves.
He also won points on 22 of his 30 trips to the net. Pouille, a 21-year-old Frenchman, entered the match with a 1-7 record in Grand Slam matches and with a No. 90 ranking.
Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza needed only an hour to advance through the first round, beating No. 85-ranked Anett Kontaveit 6-0, 6-4 in the opening match on Rod Laver Arena on day two.
The third-seeded Muguruza, who has reached the fourth round on two of her three previous trips to Melbourne Park, broke Kontaveit three times in a 23-minute first set and got an early break in the second.
The 22-year-old Spaniard retired during her first match at an Australian Open warmup tournament in Brisbane because of an injured left foot earlier this month but showed no signs of difficulty at Melbourne Park.
''Yeah, I had a few problems but, well, I think I'm recovered now,'' she said of the foot problem, ''so very good.''