Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Novak Djokovic's quest for a three- peat got off to an easy start.
The top-seeded Serbian was a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 winner over Paul-Henri Mathieu as play commenced at the 2013 Australian Open on Monday.
Djokovic is attempting to become the first man in the Open era to win three straight Australian Open titles. He also won at Melbourne Park in 2008.
And Djokovic won't have to deal with Rafael Nadal, who is not participating in the event due to a virus. Djokovic defeated Nadal in last year's final in a five-set, five-hour and 53-minute marathon.
Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych was a 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 victor over Michael Russell. Berdych won 6-of-12 break chances and served up five aces.
In other matches Monday, 10th-seeded Nicolas Almagro fought off Steve Johnson in a five-set thriller 7-5, 6-7 (7-4), 6-2, 6-7 (7-6), 6-2, No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Cedrik- Marcel Stebe 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, No. 16 Kei Nishikori had a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Victor Hanescu, No. 22 Fernando Vardasco was a 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over David Goffin, 26th-seeded Jurgen Melzer routed Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 and No. 32. Julien Benneteau downed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
The Sports Network