Monday, 08 February 2021 18:22

Staff Reporter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Novak Djokovic started the defence of his Australian Open title by dropping just six games in a dominant win over France's Jeremy Chardy in Melbourne.

The Serbian top seed eased to a 6-3 6-1 6-2 victory to extend his 100% winning record against Chardy to 14 matches.

Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem, German sixth seed Alexander Zverev and Australia's Nick Kyrgios also won.

But French 10th seed Gael Monfils broke into tears after being on the receiving end of the biggest shock so far.

There appeared little danger of world number one Djokovic suffering an upset on Monday once the draw was made - and so it proved.

Chardy had never won a set against the 17-time Grand Slam champion and it was another chastening experience for the 33-year-old.

Djokovic, who is aiming for a record-extending ninth title at Melbourne Park, hit cleanly and confidently in a one-sided win on Rod Laver Arena.

"There is an ongoing love affair with me and this court. I wanted to start off well," said Djokovic, who is set to pass Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks as the world number one next month.

"I have been fortunate, without a doubt, to experience a lot of success and break records in our sport that I obviously love and am very passionate about it.

"I am always motivated and inspired to achieve big goals and break records. I would lie if I say that's not something that I'm thinking about or that my attention is not going that way.

"I have been very transparent about the fact one of the biggest goals is to try to reach the number one of all time weeks' record, and I'm getting closer and closer to that one.

"That's a kind of a lifetime achievement for me."

Germany's Alexander Zverev overcame some early frustration to fight back and beat American Marcos Giron.

The sixth seed destroyed a racquet after failing to serve out the second set to level, but took the tie-break and won 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2.

Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem, last year's beaten finalist, started his bid to go a step better with a relatively straightforward win over Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.

US Open champion Thiem needed a tie-break to clinch the opening set before taking control to win 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 6-3.

Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian 11th seed, took almost four hours to overcome Italian 19-year-old Jannik Sinner, winning 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4.