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With Djokovic gone, Osaka starts her Australian Open defense

By JOHN PYE
AP Sports Writer

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian Open has started without nine-time champion Novak Djokovic. Finally, the focus is on the tennis. Naomi Osaka opened her title defense with a win in straight sets over Camila Osorio in the second match on Rod Laver Arena. Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari started the program on the tournament’s main court with a straight-sets win over Tatjana Maria. Rafael Nadal, the only past champion in the men’s bracket after Djokovic’s late withdrawal, was set to renew his bid for a men’s record 21st major singles title with a first-round match against Marcos Giron. Djokovic was heading home after a losing a legal battle Sunday to have his visa reinstated despite not being vaccinated for COVID-19.

Associated Press

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