Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 Australian Open - First round wrap

So the men's first round matches have all been completed over the opening two days of the Australian Open and a lot has happened on and off court...

Surprises

The biggest surprise so far has been (no not the ball kid who peed himself and delayed a match) but 8th seed, Robin Soderling's five-set loss to Marcel Granollers of Spain. The French Open runner-up was considered a serious threat in the draw and his potential quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic was highly anticipated but instead, Soderling fell to world number 113, Granollers. Do all Spaniards hold a grudge against the Swede or what?! Well both Federer and Djokovic have Granollers to thank for taking care of Soderling for them.

On the women's side, Maria Sharapova, who won the Australian Open the last time she was in Melbourne, 2 years ago, crashed out to her compatriot and friend, Maria Kirilenko in three sets.

Non-surprises

Besides Soderling, all the big names have safely secured their second round spots, although some seeds needed more than three sets. US Open champion, Juan Martin Del Potro needed 4 sets to overcome American, Michael Russell, so did last year's Australian Open semifinalist, Fernando Verdasco, against local favorite, Carsten Ball. Even Federer dropped the first set against Igor Andreev but I wouldn't say the Swiss scraped through considering he grabbed the fourth set 6-0.

Latvian underachiever, Ernests Gulbis, disappointed once again as he fell easily to 30th seed, Juan Monaco in straights.

Comeback queens, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters both made smooth advances to the second round. Henin however has a tough task ahead of her as she faces Elena Dementieva in the second round. Talk about an unlucky draw!!

Revenge match


The last time 13th seed, Radek Stepanek, played the giant that is Ivo Karlovic, he fought off 78 aces from the towering Croat over a 6 hour match in the Davis Cup semis last year and managed to clinch the point for the Czech Republic, who eventually made it to the finals. This time Karlovic fired only 34 aces but he managed to upset Stepanek in 5 sets, as he moves on to face Julien Benneteau in the second round.

Quotes

Third seed and former champion, Novak Djokovic, when asked if it was realistic to say that there's maybe six or seven guys that could win the Australian Open this year:

"I agree. I think this is one of the most exciting Grand Slams in the last five or six years because of the reason you just said: You have a group of players that are able to lift the trophy in two weeks... Next of course two big favorites, Federer and Nadal. I think Murray, Del Potro, Roddick, and myself. Davydenko plays exceptionally well lately. Gonna be interesting for the fans and for the sport to see who will win it in the end."

Roger Federer on Fabrice Santoro, who made a sudden appearance at Melbourne this week after announcing his retirement last season:

"If I could pick a guy to play against, I would like to play against him. Every day I would pick him. He would try something different and I would try something different. We would almost allow each other to do that; whereas with other players you get tangled up in the same rallies. He's not the power player and he uses a lot touch. So obviously I have a lot of respect for everything he's done in our game."

Nikolay Davydenko when asked if his Masters Cup win has made him more of a celebrity:

"I hope not. Then is not so many like say celebrity guys. I am not Paris Hilton. I don't want to be like this. I don't want to be like Nadal, Federer. These guys I never see by breakfast. They stay in the room and take room service. For me better go downstairs, you know, take breakfast, or dinner to go somewhere, not to be so much famous."

Rafael Nadal when asked by the press for the 100th if he has lost weight:

"Can we bring scales tomorrow? Everybody ask me the same. If we bring something here, I gonna put... I have the same weight than last year. I weigh the same five years ago. I didn't change."

Hot second round matches to watch

Juan Martin Del Potro [4] vs James Blake
David Ferrer [17] vs Marcos Baghdatis
Marin Cilic [14] vs Bernard Tomic
Ana Ivanovic [20] vs Gisela Dulko
Justine Henin vs Elena Dementieva [5]
Flavia Pennetta [12] vs Yanina Wickmayer

2 comments:

tennis shorts said...

I think the real upset, not just in the first round, is the spoilers that happen for US fans. It's impossible to watch tv or go on the internet before a match is televised here and not know the outcome. I think Australian open site should not update it's scores on the site for at least 12 hours after the match.

Reem said...

What about the people everywhere else in the world who are awake when the matches are underway and need live updates?? We should all wait around until US fans wake up?? Not sure that's ideal!!