Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Australian Open: First Round Report

Rain delayed many matches on the first day of the Australian Open, but the weather held up on the second day when most of the first round matches were completed. Most of the men's top seed rolled on in the first round with relative routine three-set wins apart from top seed Roger Federer and 4th seed Juan Martin Del Potro. Both needed a fourth set to move on to the next round.

Seven seeds were taken out in the opening round headlined by the shocking exit of French Open finalist and 8th seed Robin Soderling losing in five sets after winning the first two sets. Other seed casualties include Radek Stepanek (13), Tommy Robredo (16), Juan Carlos Ferrero, (23), Sam Querrey (25), Jurgen Melzer (28), and Jeremy Chardy (32).

Two other notables matches in the first round include former top ten player Richard Gasquet losing to 20th seed Mikhail Youzhny after being up two sets to none and 14th seed Marin Cilic defeating Fabrice Santoro in straight sets. Santoro retired last year, but decided to play here to be able to say that he has played across four decades of Grand Slams, an admirable feat.

There's been slightly less drama in the round for the women side with the top players, including 15th seed Kim Clijsters and unseeded Justine Henin, moving forward, mostly in straight sets, with a few even doling out bagels and breadsticks on the way.

Five of the seeds fell, most notably 14th seed and former champion Maria Sharapova losing in a marathon match against Maria Kirilenko. Other fallen seeds include Virginie Razzano (18), Dominika Cibulkova (23), Anabel Medina Garrigues (25), and Elena Vesnina (28).

16th ranked, but unseeded Yanina Wickmayer had to get through qualification before getting into the main draw due to being suspended when the seeds were set. She barely made it into the second round edging out Alexadra Dulgheru 1-6, 7-5, 10-8. Finally, here's a wacky scoreline: Francesca Schiavone d. Alize Cornet 0-6, 7-5, 6-0.

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