The second day at the Australian Open was a day to forget for World number 5, Rafael Nadal and his supporters. Verdasco thumped Nadal and caused the first major upset of the tournament on the men’s side, in the first ATP match on Rod Laver Arena yesterday. In a scintillating clash, the unseeded Spaniard toppled the 2009 champion in five sets.
Verdasco sure was expected to give Nadal a tough time but Verdasco upped the ante in critical moments of the match and eventually got the better of Rafa. It is safe to say the result left many in a state of absolute shock. In the next match on the Centre Court, Hewitt kept his hopes alive as he rolled past fellow Australian James Duckworth in straight sets.
Over on Margaret Court Arena, Andy Murray also steam-rolled past A. Zverev in straight sets. Murray’s experience did the talking, as the Brit lost just six games. Zverev did show a little resistance, but not enough to beat Murray. Stan Wawrinka was also completely business-like as he beat Dmitry Tursunov. Tursunov retired when Stan was two sets to love up.
Ferrer punched a straight sets win against Gojowczyk. Raonic also registered an easy victory over Pouille in straight sets. Local hope Tomic had to sweat it out in his victory against Istomin. He lost the first set in a tiebreak but came back strongly to make it past his opponent.
John Isner also added his name to the winner’s circle as he swept past the challenge of Janowicz in straight sets. Other first round winners include Monfils, Smyczek, Kuznetsov, Stepanek, Chardy, Sela, Sousa, Robredo, Johnson, Lopez, Bolelli, Rosol, Pella, Sock, Bellucci, Granollers, Millman, Mahut, Giraldo and Troicki. The only seeds besides Nadal to have bowed out are Fognini and Anderson, beaten by Gilles Mueller and Rajeev Ram respectively.
Following is a preview of a few matches to look out on day three of the tournament:
- Roger Federer(SUI)(3) vs Alexandr Dolgopolov(UKR):
This is scheduled to be the first day session ATP match on the Rod Laver Arena. Federer and Dolgopolov will play each other for the third time, the Swiss Maestro having beaten him on both the occasions that they’ve played.
Federer beat Basilashvili in the first round as he looked almost flawless in his straight sets win. Dolgopolov needed four sets to beat Berankis. In their last meeting at the 2014 Indian Wells Open, Federer downed Dolgopolov in straight sets. One can expect a very exciting match when these two gifted tennis players face each other, keeping in mind the unique abilities these two possess.
Prediction: Federer to maintain a perfect winning record against the Ukranian. He should have a straight sets victory despite the occasional challenges from Dolgopolov.
- Novak Djokovic(SRB)(1) vs Quentin Halys(FRA):
This is the first match of the night session on the Rod Laver Arena. This will be the first meeting between the two. Djokovic eased past Chung in the first round. Youngster Halys created headlines as he beat Dodig in four sets.
Prediction: Djokovic to continue his winning streak in a one sided affair against the French opponent.
- Austin Krajicek(USA) vs Kei Nishikori(JPN)(7):
The two men will begin play on Margaret Court Arena. In the first round, Nishikori won in straight sets against Kohlschreiber. Krajicek swept past Wu in straight sets. The two have played each other just once. The lone meeting came at last year’s Memphis open, where Nishikori had a hard time winning as he dropped the first set but won the next two.
Prediction: Nishikori to move to the third round, registering an easy victory over his opponent.
- Tomas Berdych(CZE)(6) vs Mirza Basic(BIH):
The two men play third on the Hisense Arena. They’ve never squared off against each other before. Both claimed straight sets win over Bhambri and Haase respectively. Expect Berdych to impose his game and continue his journey in the Australia Open 2016.
Prediction: Berdych to win in straight sets.
5. Nick Kyrgios (29) vs Pablo Cuevas
Nick Kyrgios, for all his flaws, is total box-office material and with the home crowd firmly behind him, he is a safe bet to put up a show every time he steps on the court in Melbourne. If Cuevas can bring his best tennis, this will be a fun match to watch, as we can count on Kyrgios to produce electrifying tennis under the lights in Melbourne Park.
Some other second round clashes include:
- Grigor Dimitrov(BUL)(27) vs Marco Trungelliti(ARG)
- Nick Kyrgios vs Pablo Cuevas(URU)
- Jo Wilfried Tsonga(FRA)(9) vs Omar Jasika(AUS)
- Marin Cilic(CRO)(12) vs Albert Ramos Vinolas(ESP)
- David Goffin(BEL)(15) vs Damir Dzumhur(BIH)
- Evgeny Donskoy(RUS) vs Gilles Simon(FRA)(14)
- Dominic Thiem(AUT)(19) vs Nicolas Almagro(ESP)
- Denis Kudla(USA) vs Andreas Seppi(ITA)(28)
- Garcia Lopez(ESP)(26) vs Daniel Brands(USA)
- Roberto Bautista Agut(ESP)(24) vs Dusan Lajovic(SRB)
- Noah Rubin(USA) vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA)
After the second day at the Australian Open, we are reminded of how anything can happen on a given day in Tennis. It will be a real test for the players to give their all and make it to the next round. Good luck to all of them. May the better player emerge victorious.
-Vishakha Khandelwal [Vishakha is a Tennis Analyst for Sportz Cosmos. You can reach her at the gmail id : sportzcosmos]