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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 13:37 GMT
Nadal v Troicki as it happened
Australian Open, Melbourne

Men's first-round result


7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-1


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By Caroline Cheese

1335: Victor Troicki gets a huge ovation from those late-nighters who have stuck around until past midnight to see the end of that match. Thanks for your company - Fed's in late-night action tomorrow so we'll see if the defending champ's fully over his illness. See you then.

Nadal 7-6 7-5 6-1 Troicki
There it is then. Not exactly convincing from Rafa but he gets the job done. Frenchman Florent Serra up next for the world number two. We will hear more from Victor Troicki I am sure.

Nadal 7-6 7-5 5-1 Troicki
"Go Victor, come awwwn," screams an Aussie in the crowd. He sounded a bit like Lil Lleyton actually. Unlikely though. Anyway, his encouragement doesn't help poor old Vic. He manages to save three break points but not a fourth...

Nadal 7-6 7-5 4-1 Troicki
Nadal consolidates the break. Will Troicki get another game? Place your bets... (Metaphorically of course. I do not endorse gambling.)

Nadal 7-6 7-5 3-1 Troicki
Troicki stares at his opponent in disbelief as Nadal chases across the baseline and nonchalantly flicks a forehand pass crosscourt. Shot of the day from Rafa, no question. Nadal snatches his first break point of the set and I really can't see any hope of a Viktor-y now.

Nadal 7-6 7-5 2-1 Troicki
Nadal's cruising now. Chris Bailey reckons he might have eliminated some of his habits, but I'm not seeing much sign of that. Water bottles? Check. Socks? Check. Pants? Check.

Nadal 7-6 7-5 1-1 Troicki
Rafa will be wondering when this Troicki fella is going to go away. It's been a smashing effort from the 21-year-old on his Grand Slam debut. Yet another ace allows him to hold.

Nadal 7-6 7-5 1-0 Troicki
The cameraman's getting bored. We've just had a close-up of Rafa's shoes. 'Rafa' on the back of one, and what looks like a bull's head on the other. Easy hold.

"The omens aren't right for Rafa though. Rafa is either a dominant player or struggles, and when he struggles it's because the surface isn't suited to his game. What this match is telling me is that he's an upset waiting to happen."
maccaogl on 606

Second set

Nadal 7-6 7-5 Troicki
The Spanish fans in the crowd are absolutely loving that. Troicki plays it a bit safe on an approach shot and Nadal pounces with a rasping backhand. It's quickly 40-0 and though Troicki saves one set point, he goes wide with a forehand and as the clock ticks over to midnight in Melbourne, Rafa's finally in control.

Nadal 7-6 6-5 Troicki
Nadal comes through safely and he'll get at least a tiebreak in this set...

"Tricky Viki is clearly one to watch in the future. Wish I could see match!"
Jude via text on 81111

Nadal 7-6 5-5 Troicki
Nadal looks ready to put an end to all this faffing about when he takes a 30-0 lead - but Vik isn't. He bangs down three aces and an overhead and we're all square again. Troicki should be looking at top 50 at least on the basis of this performance.

Nadal 7-6 5-4 Troicki
I'd agree with Sam Smith, which will be a boost for her I'm sure. Nadal is having to work even harder than normal to get points on the board and his groundstrokes are sitting up, begging to be hit. Still, he will win. I'm sure of that.

"I still can't believe how ineffective Nadal's groundstrokes have been out here this evening. Troicki has been calling all the shots."
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Nadal 7-6 4-4 Troicki
There's the real Rafa, whipping a forehand pass crosscourt to earn two break points but Troicki saves both with a big serve and an even bigger overhead. On a third though, Nadal chases down a drop volley and delicately lobs it over the Serb's head to level up. Out comes the fist punch.

Nadal 7-6 3-4 Troicki
A bit sloppy from Troicki, as he nets a simple forehand to make it 40-15 for Nadal. A second break would do nicely for the Serb because there is no doubt Nadal has several gears to go through.

Nadal 7-6 2-4 Troicki
Troicki's drop shot puts me in mind of Andy Murray a couple of seasons back. It makes you wince. But he recovers from losing the opening point to put away a tricky volley and make it 40-30. A delicious crosscourt forehand seals it.

Nadal 7-6 2-3 Troicki
Nadal back on track. The Spaniard elicits more screams from the young ladies in the crowd as he changes his shirt at the changeover.

"Troikster breaks - life in the match yet. Nadal serving a touch slow as well..."
Mike Lowry on 606

Nadal 7-6 1-3 Troicki
Ace number 12 from Troicki and he consolidates the break. He looks full of confidence too.

Nadal 7-6 1-2 Troicki
Expecting a letdown from Vic were you? Nadal is furious with himself as he fires a backhand into the net - and that's not the first time I've written that today. That gives Vik break point but the Spaniard saves it with a brilliant, brilliant drop shot. But Troicki comes right back at him and belts a backhand down the line to break for the second time. Interesting.

Nadal 7-6 1-1 Troicki
He may be one set down, but our Vic still seems to be enjoying life out there. With Rafa out of court, he stretches to put a volley on to the baseline before an ace earns him the game to 15.

Nadal 7-6 1-0 Troicki
A strong start from Nadal as he looks to press home his advantage.

First set

Nadal 7-6 Troicki
Troicki's inexperience tells. At 2-4, the Serb has an easy put-away but tries a cheeky drop shot which lands in the net. Not percentage tennis. Vik picks a lovely volley off his toes to save one set point but Rafa is relentless and he pockets the set.

Nadal 6-6 Troicki
Incroyable! A wayward forehand from Rafa hands Troicki a set point. A SET POINT! But the Serb loses the plot somewhat and after a long baseline exchange, tries a drop shot. Bad idea. Rafa survives and it's tiebreak time.

Nadal 5-6 Troicki
The crowd are really warming to Troicki, who gets the better of another ding-dong rally to make it 40-15. An ace wraps it up.

Nadal 5-5 Troicki
Crikey... Vik responds brilliantly, forcing Nadal into a mistimed backhand to earn three break-back points. Rafa makes a mess of another backhand and it's as you were.

"Troicki is playing into Nadal's web, as Nadal makes the game into one of long rallies. Nadal will win easily. Troicki has a good serve."
coolpixel on 606

Nadal 5-4 Troicki
Nadal turns up the pressure by engaging his opponent in some brutal rallies. He earns his first break point of the match and with Troicki huffing and puffing, it doesn't look good for the Serb. He saves it with an angled volley but Nadal is right back at him and this time the plucky qualifier crumbles.

Nadal 4-4 Troicki
Nadal is through that game nice and easy. Now he just needs to get that return into shape.

"Rafa is a notoriously slow starter... I have absolute faith he will get through this match easily!"
Heidi via text on 81111

Nadal 3-4 Troicki
Troicki's serve is not unlike Goran Ivanisevic's, beginning with that wide stance and then throwing his body forward into the action. It's helping him to quite a few easy points. Troicki holds to 15. Rafa ruffled.

Nadal 3-3 Troicki
Troicki plays a Rafa-like bending forehand pass on the run but doesn't quite make it. Nadal comes through but it's tight at the moment.

Nadal 2-3 Troicki
Ace, ace, ace... Troicki brings out the big guns, with the Australian crowd hoping for a full house. It's not to be and at 40-0, he makes a couple of groundstroke errors. No matter, he successfully challenges a call on a serve down the 'T' and takes to his chair.

Nadal 2-2 Troicki
Troicki tries a few big winners which don't come off - but that's probably the right tactic if he wants to beat Nadal. Nadal holds to love and does a little jog on the spot to celebrate.

"I love Rafa's new shorts!!"
Stuart on 606

Nadal 1-2 Troicki
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith reckons Troicki looks "scared" out there but he should play scared more often. He's got a decent serve and some solid groundstrokes. Great start.

Nadal 1-1 Troicki
Mmmm, bit of a struggle for Nadal. A couple of double faults leave him 30-40 down. Troicki hits a big forehand and ventures to the net but is forced short with his volley, allowing Nadal to whip a backhand down the line. A couple of deuces later and Rafa levels up.

Nadal 0-1 Troicki
Viktor Troicki is skipping about like a, well, like a kangaroo out there... He's ever so keen to get that first game under his belt and he does. Excellent.

1059: Troicki to serve first...

1054: Nadal and his opponent Viktor Troicki are both 21 but that's pretty much where the similarites end. The Serb is a wiry 6ft 4ins right-hander, the Spaniard is a beefy, 6ft 1in left-hander. Troicki, the world number 126, is making his Grand Slam debut, Nadal, the world number two, has won three already.

1050: Out come the players and Nadal is greeted by some ear-piercing screams from somewhere in the Rod Laver Arena crowd. The muscle-bound Mallorcan has got a new outfit for a new season: orange vest and beige knee-length shorts. It's nice. I like it.

1044: Rafael Nadal is up next on Rod Laver Arena, facing a Serbian making his Grand Slam debut. Only one way this is going to go surely?

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