Monday, January 17, 2011

Australian Open Report: Day 1

It was opening day at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year and other than a few sprinkles and 1-2 mild upsets, it was business as usual.

For the men, at least, it was either a very easy day or a very difficult one. Former Grand Slam champions Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Roddick all lost just five games each in their first round routs to move onto the second round. Top ten players Tomas Berdych and Fernando Verdasco also won on the first day with relative ease in straight sets.

Both 12th seed Gael Monfils and 16th seed Mardy Fish mounted impressive comebacks, winning three sets after losing the first two. 18th seed Sam Querrey didn't fare so fortunately as he was bounced out for a second year in a row in the first round, losing 6-8 in the fifth. The only other men's seed to lose yesterday was 23rd seed and last year's semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko who listlessly lost in four sets. Take note that he comprehensively defeated Rafael Nadal in Doha just a couple weeks ago.

Other notable winners of the day include 14th seed Nicolas Almagro, 17th seed Ivan Ljubicic, 19th seed Stan Wawrinka, 28th seed Richard Gasquet, Nicolas Mahut, Janko Tipsarevic, and Gilles Simon. The latter will take his 2-0 H2H record against defending champion Federer to a second round match everyone will be paying attention to.

Were we actually worried about Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova heading to their respective tricky matches yesterday? Because they all won pretty decisively putting to rest, at least for now, their respective forms. French Open champions Francesca Schiavone and Justine Henin had a bit more difficulty winning, the latter initially getting hammered by Sania Mirza, but they still survived.

Easy wins were also logged by 8th seed Victoria Azarenka, 9th seed Na Li, 15h seed Marion Bartoli (who dished out this year's tournament's first double bagel), 23rd seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, and 30th seed Andrea Petkovic. A couple of seeds weren't as lucky as 17th seed Aravane Rezai and 28th seed Daniela Hantuchova both lost.

A few more notable winners include 20th seed Kaia Kanepi, 21st seed Yanina Wickmayer, 29th seed Dominika Cibulkova, 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova, Vania King, Jelena Dokic, and Chanelle Scheepers.

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