The Australian Open began well for Australian fans when Sam Stosur defeated Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei on day 1. Both players struggled to hold serve early in the first set, with four consecutive broken serves.
Sammy held onto her next service game and broke Chang with an aggressive forehand on break-point to make the score 5-3. The Australian failed to serve the set out and Chang levelled the match at 5-5.
Two more service breaks later and the set went to a tie-breaker which Stosur won 7-5.
In my opinion, Sammy can be a very inconsistent player. She will always go for her shots, particularly on the forehand. This means when she is playing well she hits some great shots and will get a lot of winners.
But on her off days she still goes for her shots and hits a lot of unforced errors. However, you have to appreciate her for playing her way, and not reverting to a defensive system when she starts playing badly.
Stosur played with more confidence in the second set, breaking Chang twice for a 6-3 score line. Sammy will play China’s Jie Zheng next, the opponent she lost to earlier this month in Sydney. She may have struggled early in her first match, but will have gained confidence that should see her through to a potential third round encounter with 18th seed Julia Goerges from Germany.
Despite his good form from the Kooyong Classic, Lleyton Hewitt failed to progress past the first round. ‘Rusty’ was defeated in three sets by eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic.
Tipsarevic looks to cruise through to the quarter finals where he may meet Nicolas Almagro.
Fellow Australians Ash Barty and Matthew Ebden failed to progress despite pushing their opponents early in their matches. 16 year-old Barty was defeated 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 by Sydney finalist Dominika Cibulkova.
While Matty Ebden won his first two sets 4-6, 6-7(0-7) before losing the next three 6-2, 7-6(7-4), 6-3.
John Millman pushed Japan’s Tatsuma Ito to five sets but also failed to progress.
In Monday’s other matches Maria Sharapova comfortably dispatched her opponent Olga Puchkova 6-0, 6-0. My tournament favourite and fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanksa defeated Aussie Bojana Bobusic 7-5, 6-0.
World number one Novak Djokovic defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu in three sets, he faces 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison in round two. Meanwhile, Brisbane finalist Gregor Dimitrov, tipped by many as an up-and-coming competitor, failed to survive the first round, losing in straight sets to Benneteau.
Day two of the Open saw victories from the seeded Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray. Serena Williams is also through to the next round, despite suffering an injury scare.
Tuesday also saw Germany’s Sabine Lisicki take on former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane lost the first set 2-6, but came back in the second winning 6-3. Lisicki began the third set strongly with a 3-0 lead.
Wozniacki has been criticised for her counter-punching style, and despite her number one ranking failed to win a grand slam against aggressive players like Serena Williams.
However Wozniacki has recently altered her game, playing more aggressively at times, and hitting for winners on certain points. The momentum swung the Dane’s way, and she won the third set 6-3 and will progress through to the next round.
Bernard Tomic continued his fine form when he defeated Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer on Tuesday night in Rod Laver Areana. Bernie was undistracted by Jim Courier continually talking thought the points, and won 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Tomic seems to be maturing on and off the court, and he is getting the results that he perhaps deserves. The Australian’s next match is against German qualifier Daniel Brands, winning that he will likely face Roger Federer in the third round.
Following Tomic’s match Jarmila ‘Jarka’ Gajdosova came up against Yanina ‘Whoop-Ah’ Wickmayer. Jarka struggled in the first set, losing 6-1 in just 26 minutes. The adopted Aussie came out strong and began the second set 2-0 up.
Gajdosova struggles to keep the momentum in her favour, and she soon found the set back on serve at 4-3. Wickmayer survived a set point at 5-4 to level the match at 5-all. One break and one hold of serve later and Wickmayer won the match 6-1, 7-5.
Fellow Aussies James Duckworth and Ben Mitchell battled it out on Show Court 2. The match went to five sets which Duckworth finally won 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 5-7, 8-6. Duckworth’s next match is against Slovakia’s Blaz Klavcic.
Round two preview
The second round begins on Wednesday. Be sure to watch the old-man Radek Stepanek come up against Spain’s Feliciano Lopez. No one else can play quite like Stepanek, and he is a player every tennis fan must watch at least once.
Keep an eye on Kevin Anderson who comes up against 21 year-old Russian Andrey Kuznetzov. The Russian defeated 11th seed Juan Monaco in the first round. Anderson made the Sydney International final and should manage a victory over Kuznetzov.
Ana Ivanovic, a fan favourite for certain reasons, meets China’s Yung-Jan Chan in the second round. Chan managed a shock victory over Daniela Hantuchova in the first round, but expect Ivanovic to dominate this match.
18-year old and 2008 Junior Wimbledon winner Laura Robson is beginning to impress on the WTA stage with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-3 victory over America’s Melanie Oudin. However the young Pom may have to wait for another grand slam to impress further, as she faces former women’s Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova who defeated Schiavone in three sets.
Milos Raonic faces Lukas Rosol, the Czech who surprised Rafael Nadal at 2012 Wimbledon. However, Rosol’s victory has been considered somewhat of a fluke, and we should expect Raonic to proceed past the 75th ranked Czech.
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