Rafael Nadal secured his first win of the year as he began the defence of his Australian Open title by beating Jack Draper 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1.

The number one seed did not have it all his own way against the Briton, but ultimately the class and fitness of the 36-year-old made the difference as Draper – 15 years Nadal's junior – appeared to be heavily affected by cramp later in the match.

Nadal had lost six of his last seven tour-level matches coming in, but gained the advantage after he managed to break at 6-5 up in an even first set against the big-serving Draper.

Draper fought back emphatically as he raced into a 4-0 lead in the second, seeing it out comfortably to level up at 1-1, but he appeared to start cramping just two games into the third set.

Nadal took advantage and went 4-1 ahead, but the Spaniard did not always seem at his confident best himself as some uncharacteristic errors allowed his opponent back in, with Draper breaking back and managing to get to 4-4.

Nadal was able to break again to take the set 6-4, and despite Draper breaking serve in the opening game of the fourth, that was his last success of the match as the 21-year-old's legs clearly started to affect his movement and serve, with Nadal finding it simple enough to close out the win.

Data slam: Nadal matches Lendl for career wins

This was the 1,068th win of Nadal's career, bringing him level with Ivan Lendl.

The 22-time grand slam winner is now tied for third most victories in the Open Era, behind only Jimmy Connors (1,274) and Roger Federer (1,251).

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 41/46

Draper – 35/46

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 6/3

Draper – 13/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 6/12

Draper – 4/11