Tsitsipas eases into Aussie Open 2nd round

Stefanos Tsitsipas has enjoyed an easy first round win at the Australian Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has enjoyed an easy first round win at the Australian Open.

Stefanos Tsitsipas smelled blood in the water early in his clash with Salvatore Caruso.

Later, he experienced it on the court.

The Greek sixth seed enjoyed the smoothest of starts to the Australian Open, barely getting out of second gear on Monday night to register a 6-0 6-2 6-3 win.

Things weren't so comfortable for the Italian.

With the tips of the fingers on his playing hand taped, blood began to drip from Caruso's hand early in the third set, making life tough for the world No.95.

Still, he managed to pull himself together to have his best set of the match while never really troubling Tsitsipas.

"It was nothing special, it was a small cut that re-opened," Caruso said, playing down the problem afterwards.

"It is a condition. I was hoping that it was not happening with a new (cut) but it can happen."

For Tsitsipas, it was an excellent start as he seeks to better last year's semi-final showing.

In 2019, he beat Roger Federer only to suffer a straight-sets beating against Rafael Nadal with a maiden grand slam final on the line.

But Tsitsipas said he was now a different player.

"I definitely feel like I'm more experienced now. Last year I did feel more as a kid who was trying to get confidence by doing certain things on the court," he said.

"Now I feel like I'm more mature ... I'm just very sure with myself."

While early days in the tournament, Tsitsipas is in line to face Novak Djokovic in a quarter-final which would mark their first meeting at a grand slam.

Seemingly the only thing of bother to Tsitsipas was the sometimes over-enthusiastic Greek fans, and even that was something of a dual-edged sword.

"I really like that they come and support me because that gives me a lot of positives in my game. I don't really know why they want to go the extra mile some of the times," he said.

"But I think also, from their side, they should be a little bit more respectful to the opponents."

Australian Associated Press