Melbourne, Jan 17 (Agencies): Roger Federer opened his Australian Open title defence in belligerent fashion on Monday, thrashing hapless Slovak Lukas Lacko in straight sets to stroll into the second round of the year's first grand slam.
Federer took the match's first point with an improbable backhand drop volley and the winners flowed from the Swiss maestro's racket thereafter as he completed a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 rout in 84 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
Lacko, a clean-hitting 23-year-old with a ranking of 97, did little wrong in his fourth Australian Open campaign, but was consigned to shrugging and wry smiles as Federer chased down his thunderbolts and returned them with interest.
Federer has had to concede top billing at Melbourne Park to arch-rival Rafa Nadal as the Spaniard bids for a fourth consecutive grand slam, but the Swiss 29-year-old showed he will not concede the last title he owns without a huge fight.