21 Jan 2009

Nadal and Murray in a hurry as Williamses canter

6:09 am on 21 January 2009

The first glimpses of Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal at the Australian tennis open have been brief but Serena and Venus Williams have given full value with their first round wins at Melbourne Park.

The world number one Nadal gave an ominous demonstration of his intentions by crushing Belgium's Christophe Rochus 6-0 6-2 6-2, the Spaniard racing victory in 77 minutes.

He's among the favourites to win the title this year, along with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

The pre-tournament favourite and fourth seed Murray slipped easily into round two when his opponent Andrei Pavel retired injured after 45 minutes .

But Australia's LLeyton Hewitt is out beaten by Chile's Fernando Gonzalez 5-7 6-2 6-2 3-6 6-3 ,

Venus Williams beat Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3 after her sister Serena brushed aside China's Yuan Meng 6-3 6-2.

The second seed Serena seed is seeking a fourth Australian title after winning in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

The world number four Elena Dementieva survived the heat to beat Germany's Christina Barrois 7-6 2-6 6-1.