Thursday, January 20, 2011

Australian Open Report: Days 3 & 4

Slacking a bit on my supposedly daily Australian Open reports, but it's been a busy week so I'll cover two days of second round worth of action here. It's worth knowing that heading into the third round, there are 22 seeds (out of 32) still alive on the men's side while there are 20 seeds in the women's.

The biggest story on the men's side is most likely Roger Federer needing five sets to take out Gilles Simon. I think the fact that he cruised in the first two sets made the whole thing even more odd, but Gilles was a former top ten player only two years ago and had a H2H of 2-0 against Federer before the match. While Federer struggled, most of the other top men moved on easily including Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Robin Soderling, David Ferrer, and Andy Roddick.

Some seeds that didn't fare as well and were eliminated include 27th seed David Nalbandian who had to retire due to just not having enough time to recover from his epic first round match with Lleyton Hewitt. 16h seed Mardy Fish was the highest men's seed to get the boot in the tournament so far. Other seeds to fall were 22nd seed Michael Llodra, 25th seed Albert Montanes, 26th seed Juan Monaco, 30th seed Thomaz Belluci, and 31st seed Feliciano Lopez.

Unseeded Juan Martin Del Potro and Janko Tipsarevic were ousted by 21st seed Marcos Baghdatis and 9th seed Fernando Verdasco. The latter, Tipsarevic, had match points in the fourth set, but when he was unable to convert, his disappeared completely from the match winning no points in the fourth set tiebreak and then getting bageled in the final set.

With Ana Ivanovic getting ousted in the first round, Serbian hopes were put on 7th seed Jelena Jankovic only for her to get beaten becoming the highest women's seed to get eliminated. Another former world no. 1 almost lost as well as Venus Williams suffered an injury mid-match right after losing a crucial first-set tiebreak. Inexplicably, Venus played through the pain and winning the next two sets, even dishing out a bagel to her confused opponent. The older Williams sister showed true grit in the face of injury and bad fashion.

Along with Jankovic, other seeds to fall include 15th seed Marion Bartoli, 18th seed Maria Kirilenko, 20th seed Kaia Kanepi, 21st seed Yanina Wickmayer, 24th seed Alisa Kleybanova, 26th seed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, and 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova.

The top contenders themselves are still in the running and some displaying dominant forms including Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters, Sam Stosur, Victoria Azarenka, Na Li, Shahar Peer, Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova, and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Other notable survivors were Vera Zvonareva and Francesca Schiavone.

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