Round two of the Australian Open began with my favourite for lifting the title, Agnieszka Radwanksa, defeating Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania.
Radwanksa is not the strongest player, and does not hit the ball as aggressively as Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka, but she is clever and very strategic in her play. She knows how to move her opponent around the court, and won the first set convincingly 6-3.
‘Aga’ struggled slightly with serving into the sun in the second set, but still won 6-3. With tournament wins in Auckland and Sydney, Radwanska began the Australian Open without losing a match since the start of the year. The victory over Begu was her 11th consecutive win for 2013.
Radwanksa’s next match is against 20 year-old Heather Watson from Great Britain. To make the final she will likely have to defeat Ana Ivanovic, Li Na and Maria Sharapova. But if her great form continues, I believe she can go all the way.
Also in good form is Maria Sharapova, who won 6-0, 6-0 over Japan’s Misaki Doi, and men’s first seed Novak Djokovic, who defeated Ryan Harrison on Wednesday night.
Wednesday afternoon saw Sam Stosur loose to Jie Zheng from China. Sammy may have beaten her Australian voodoo in the first round, but it caught up with her when she lost in three sets. Both players struggled to hold their serve during the match, but Jie Zheng managed to hold on when it counted.
On Thursday Azarenka, Serena, Andy Murray, Caroline Wozniacki and Juan Martin Del Potro all cruised through to the next round, while Bernard Tomic was pushed to four sets by German Daniel Brands.
20 year-old Australian James Duckworth played his second five setter in two days. ‘The Duck’ was narrowly defeated 10-8 in the fifth set by Slovenian Blaz Kavcic.
Roger Federer defeated Russian former top 10 player Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to book a third round appointment with Bernard Tomc. Bernie struggled against his German opponent, so I cannot see him creating an upset against the Swiss Maestro.
The surprise defeat of round two was Sydney finalist Dominika Cibulkova being knocked out by 21 year-old Russian Valeria Savinykh. The Russian’s next match is against Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
The third round sees a number of great match-ups.
Be sure to watch the match between big hitting German Angelique Kerber and upcoming American 17-year-old Madison Keys. The young American has done well to make it to the third round, and will hope to continue impressing her audiences.
The battle of former world number ones is on in the women’s draw, when Ana Ivanovic takes on Jelena Jankovic, and Venus Williams attempts to knock-out Maria Sharapova. I expect youth to prevail, with Ivanonic and Sharapova winning their matches.
Also be sure to catch Djokovic v Radek Stepanek, which should be an entertaining match, and Kevin Anderson v Fernando Verdasco, which could be a close and difficult match. The South African Anderson has potential to become a top player in the next year or so, but will have to prove himself against the Spaniard.
Henri Leconte will be resting his voice for the all-French encounter between Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils, who was pushed to five and four sets by his previous two opponents.
Meanwhile, big hitting Spaniard David Ferrer takes on Marcos Baghdatis. Both players seem to enjoy five set matches and this encounter promises to be exciting. With a much higher ranking, I expect Ferrer to proceed.
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