Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the second round of the Australian Open by beating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in straight sets.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion secured a 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory in an entertaining match in Melbourne.

World number nine Rafael Nadal earlier reached the second round with a commanding display.

The injury-hit Spaniard, who lost in the first round last year, beat Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 6-4.

World number two Djokovic will next face Denis Istomin or Ivan Dodig while Nadal, attempting to win his first Grand Slam title since 2014, will play Marcos Baghdatis.

Djokovic, 29, was hardly stretched as he took the first set inside 31 minutes as Verdasco, who received warm support from the crowd, badly mistimed several shots.

But Verdasco broke straight away in the second set, putting Djokovic under pressure. He eventually forced a tie-break despite a slew of unforced errors.

However, his inconsistency meant he could not capitalise on Djokovic’s errors and the Serb went on to secure his place in the second round.

“It feels like home,” said Djokovic. “It feels like coming to the place where I have an amazing number of incredible memories.

“When I saw the draw I thought to myself, this is going to be the only match I could focus on.”