Thursday, January 19, 2012

Australian Open Report: Second Round

Controversial calls, injury retirements, dominant performance from top contenders, and long grueling matches were all on tap for the second round.

For the American men, it was a bloody round with 5 of 6 losing early including 8th seed Mardy Fish and 15th seed Andy Roddick. The latter retired with injury to Lleyton Hewitt who joins fellow Australian Bernard Tomic into the next round. John Isner is the lone American man left in the draw after he gutted out a five-set victory 10-8 in the final set against David Nalbandian. Nalbandian was burned by the chair umpire who overturned a call against Nalbandian and wouldn't let him challenge. It wouldn't have decided the match, but in tennis every little bit helps.

Other five set victors include 5th seed David Ferrer, 10th seed Nicolas Almagro, 13th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, 24th seed Kei Nishikori, Julien Benneteau (d. 12th seed Gilles Simon), Mikhail Kukushkin (d. 19th seed Viktor Troiki), and Michael Llodra (d. 32nd seed Alex Bogomolov Jr.). 26th seed Marcel Granollers was also upset, but no one was more upset that Marcos Baghdatis who went down to 21st seed Stan Wawrinka. His racquet-busting reaction has gone viral. Of course, the top men moved through easily none more easily than 3rd seed Roger Federer who had a walkover into the next round.

The American women had a little better time than their male counterparts as 3 of 5 moved through including 12th seed Serena Williams. Serena was also among the top contenders who dominated their opponents with pretty lopsided matches. Special kudos go out to 3rd seed Victoria Azarenka, 4th seed Maria Sharapova, 11th seed Kim Clijsters, and 26th seed Anabel Medina Garrigues for their straight-set bagel/breadstick wins.

Of course, it wasn't easy for everyone. Second seed Petra Kvitova and 18th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova among others were tested, but still moved through. The same cannot be said for the eight seeds who were defeated including 10th seed Francesca Schiavone, 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 16th seed Shuai Peng, 17th seed Dominika Cibulkova, and 29th seed Nadia Petrova.

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