Australian Open Day 2 Review
Alright, that’s the first round out of the way. Every player has had their chance to make their mark at the year’s first grand slam tournament, and half of them have had to pack their bags early and head back home. Among them is local kid and former-world-number-one Lleyton Hewitt, whose hopes of reestablishing a name for himself in front of his home crowd were once again dashed. Here’s a run through of day two’s big results:
The buzz and excitement around the Rod Laver Arena started early yesterday, as the crowd got a chance to see one-man-tank and top seed Rafael Nadal in his opening match against Brazilian Marcos Daniel. If these two nations met in a soccer match, it would no doubt be an incredibly tight game. Here, however, Nadal played his opponent into submission, leading 6-0, 5-0 before an injury to his left knee forced him to retire.
The most exciting game of the day was the second order of play in the men’s singles on the Rod Laver Arena, where Argentine David Nalbandian met local kid Lleyton Hewitt in a dual to decide which former star was not completely washed up just yet. With the match turned out to be a five-set epic, stretching over five hours and going into the early hours, Nalbandian came out victorious, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 9-7. It’ll be a bleak 30th birthday for Hewitt this year, an age synonymous with the closing stages of a player’s career.
Andy Murray ensured that a beleaguered Britain can still pray for that first male grand slam winner since Fred Perry in 1936, whose legacy unfortunately lives on in a clothing line popular among Britain’s vagabond population. Last year’s finalist made it through to round two with relative ease against Karol Beck of Slovakia, up 6-3, 6-1, 4-2, before Beck retired with a troubled right shoulder.
Number-four seed Robert Soderling also made it through it typically mundane Swedish fashion, defeating Italian Potito Starace, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Nice try, Italy.
Anyone remember John Isner, the American half of the longest tennis match in the history of the universe, finely Wimbledon-and on- and on, where he defeated Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set? Well, yesterday he did it under nine hours, beating Florent Serra of France, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3.
One player I recommend you keep an eye out for is Argentina’s 2009 US Open winner Martin Del Potro. Having missed almost the entirety of 2010 through injury, Del Potro is hoping will be hoping to reach peak form again as soon as possible, at least come the French Open in June. He got off to a solid start, defeating an out-of-shape (or maybe the camera just added 10 lbs) Dudi Sela in straight sets, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4.
And even Luxembourg gets its ambassador in round two, after Gille Muller defeated German Simon Stadler, 6-3, 7-6, 6-4. Anyone with a good memory may remember Muller from back in 2005, where he defeated Nadal at Wimbledon. Luxembourg almost introduced a bank holiday after the win, that would have ment the country would go under.
The big story to come out of the women’s draw was Kim Cijsters, in supremely better shape than her native Belgium’s government, annihilating a beset Dinara Safina of Russia in only 44 minutes. It finished 6-0, 6-0, with Safina only winning a meagre 16 points during the whole match.
Aussies will be storing their faith in local-lass Samantha Stosur, who, seeded number five, can go into Round Two with great expectations after sweeping away American Lauren Davis, 6-1, 6-1.
Tasty Russian and number-two seed Vera Zvonareva unfortunately did not break as much as a sweat in her tie against Sybille Bammer. Zvonareva defeated the Austrian in a convincing, 6-2, 6-1. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see last year’s Wimbledon and US Open finalist out a little more grunt into her down-the-line stop-ball… PHNAR PHANR, know what I mean?
Former world number-one Ana Ivanovic of Serbia – perhaps better known for a posing nude in magazines, at least among my friends – crashed out in the first round to 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. The crowd turned against the poor Serb when they discovered she was not wearing a swim suit and holding a tennis racket.
Jelena Jankovic, however, did give Serbia reason to celebrate after overcoming Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia, 6-0, 7-6, showing signs of the form that won her back-to-back French Open titles in 2004-05.
Photos courtesy of gototennis.com and the Guardian
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