Cameron Norrie knocked out in Australian Open first round by Sebastian Korda

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Hopes that Cameron Norrie would begin 2022 where he left off last season were dashed as the British No1 suffered a 6-3 6-0 6-4 defeat to Sebastian Korda in the opening round of the Australian Open.

Korda, the son of former Australian Open champion Petr, is seen as one of the rising stars of the game but No12 seed Norrie never got into the match.

At one point, the Briton lost nine consecutive games in a thoroughly one-sided contest. It also stretched Norrie’s losing record this year to date to four matches, having lost his previous three encounters at the ATP Cup.

Norrie, whose build-up was unsettled by testing positive for Covid-19 over his Christmas break, struggled with his serve throughout against the world No43 and lacked the aggressive game, which had been such a facet of his breakout year in 2021.

Korda, meanwhile, tested positive for the virus on arrival in Australia and was consigned to hitting tennis balls in his hotel room while in quarantine.

Cam Norrie’s difficult start to 2022 continued with a first-round exit at the Australian Open (AFP via Getty Images)
Cam Norrie’s difficult start to 2022 continued with a first-round exit at the Australian Open (AFP via Getty Images)

Norrie’s last real fight eroded when he was broken in his opening service game of the third set, from which he never recovered.

Afterwards, he described it as “my worst match in the last eight months or so”. He said: “I don’t know why I played the way I did today. I was feeling good physically. I was slow, I missing routine backhands, which I never miss. I just need to raise my standards, practice, matches and execute a lot better.”

The 26-year-old has struggled to make inroads at the Grand Slams having yet to make it past the third round of any, just edging his way towards being in the world’s top 10.

He was the only British player in the draw on the opening day with the likes of Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu in action on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Rafael Nadal showed few ill effects of the knee issue which brought a premature end to last season as he dispatched American Marcos Giron 6-1 6-4 6-2.

Defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka is safely through to round two in Melbourne (REUTERS)
Defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka is safely through to round two in Melbourne (REUTERS)

Meanwhile, in the women’s draw Naomi Osaka, playing in only her second tournament since the 2021 US Open, defeated Camila Osorio 6-3 6-3.

After the match, the defending Australian Open champion said: “I thought I played pretty well given the circumstances. Overall I’m happy to be here and see everyone in the audience.

“I like the hot conditions but when I come here everyone is warm and welcoming. I’m sure that has a positive effect on me.”

But there was disappointment for No18 seed Coco Gauff as the 17-year-old American looked out of sorts in a 6-4 6-2 defeat to China’s Wang Qiang.

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