Day 1 of the Australian open kicked off to a sensational start. The day was action packed and saw some brilliant tennis by the players. On Rod Laver Arena, both Djokovic and Federer registered emphatic wins over their opponents, just at the loss of nine and five games respectively. Djokovic schooled the youngster Chung during the day session. Federer proved too fast for Basilashvili under the lights. Both of them looked near flawless in their wins.
On the Margaret Court Arena, Berdych registered a commanding win over Yuki Bhambri in straight sets. Two former finalists, Tsonga and Baghdatis faced off against each other and Tsonga got better of his Cypriot opponent in four sets, after dropping the second. In the first match on the Hisense Arena, Nishikori cruised past Kohlschreiber in straight sets. Later in the day, Kyrgios proved too strong for the Spaniard, Carreno Busta.
Grigor Dimitrov also won his match in straight sets, the second one reaching a tiebreak. Other first round winners include Goffin and Simon, both in four sets. Marin Cilic also won after dropping the first set in a tiebreak. Dolgopolov, Almagro, Garcia Lopez, Thiem, Seppi, Bautista Agut and Herbert are among the others who managed to move to the next round.
Youngster Kyle Edmund lost to Damir Dzumhur in a marathon match. In one of the surprises of the day, Borna Coric lost in straight sets to Ramos-Vinolas. Benoit Paire lost to Rubin in straight sets. The giant serving Karlovic lost to Delbonis as he retired mid match due to a knee injury. These were the only seeds (17 and 22 respectively) that lost on Monday. Following is a preview of a few matches to look out on Day 2 of the tournament.
- Rafael Nadal (ESP)(5) vs Fernando Verdasco(ESP):
This is scheduled to be the first men’s singles and last afternoon session match on Rod Laver Arena. The two Spaniards will go head to head for the seventeenth time. Their last meeting came in Hamburg last year where Rafa beat Verdasco after dropping the first set. The good news for Verdasco, however, is that he won their last encounter on hardcourts – last year in Miami. Everything points towards a fun and exciting match between these two Spaniards and the entire Tennis Galaxy will be glad if they can produce a match anywhere close to the quality of their encounter in 2009 on the same court.
Prediction: Nadal to edge Verdasco in straight sets with sporadic resistance by the latter. Expect one set to go to a tiebreak.
- Lleyton Hewitt(AUS) vs James Duckworth(AUS):
This will be the second men’s singles match on the Rod Laver Arena and first in the night session. This will be a first meeting between the two. Every match that Hewitt plays here will be an emotional one as the Australian is ready to bid farewell to the sport after this tournament. He will look on for a last hurrah against fellow Australian.
Prediction: Hewitt to win the match as he will have the majority of home crowd backing him and he will be motivated to play delay his retirement as much as he can.
- Andy Murray(GBR)(2) vs Alexander Zverev(GER):
This is the second match on the Margaret Court Arena. Murray will begin his quest for a first Australian open in 10 tries playing against the 18 year old German, Zverev. They’ve squared off just once, at this year’s Hopman cup where Murray outclassed him in straight sets.
Prediction: The more experienced Murray to topple Zverev. Zverev could be a little resistant but hard to see him bag a victory against his 10 years senior opponent.
- Stan Wawrinka(SUI)(4) vs Dmitry Tursunov(RUS):
Wawrinka looks to be on track to clinch a second Australian open in three years, with his title in Chennai. In Melbourne, he starts against the Russian Dmitry Tursunov. The two men play last on the Margaret Court Arena. Wawrinka and Tursunov have played each other just two times with one win apiece. The last time they played was back in 2013 at Kuala Lumpur Open and the Swiss won in three sets after dropping the first. And Tursunov’s victory came way back in 2008 at the Sydney open 2008 in straight sets.
Prediction: Wawrinka to move to the next round, in straight sets without facing much trouble. His one handed backhand to do the damage.
- Milos Raonic vs Lucas Pouille:
Fresh off his Brisbane open victory, Raonic begins his Australian Open campaign against Lucas Pouille, who he beat en route the tournament victory (their lone meeting) in straight sets. The two will begin play on Show Court 2.
Prediction: Raonic to surge past Pouille in straight sets.
Other seeds in action:
- David Ferrer(ESP)(8) vs Peter Gojowczyk(GER)
- Jerzy Janowicz(POL) vs John Isner(USA)(10)
- Rajeev Ram(USA) vs Kevin Anderson(RSA)(11)
- Bernard Tomic(AUS)(16) vs Denis Istomin(UZB)
- Fabio Fognini(ITA)(20) vs Gilles Mueller(LUX)
- Victor Troicki(SRB)(21) vs Daniel Munoz De La Nava (ESP)
- Gael Monfils(FRA)(23) vs Yuichi Sugita(JPN)
- Jack Sock(USA)(25) vs Taylor Fritz(USA)
- Jeremy Chardy(FRA)(30) vs Ernests Gulbis(LAT)
- Joao Sousa(POR)(32) vs Mikhail Kukushkin(KAZ)
Along with Hewitt, Duckworth and Tomic, other Australians who play their first round matches are:
- Adrian Mannarino(FRA) vs Sam Groth(USA)
- John Millman(AUS) vs Diego Schwartzman(ARG)
- Matthew Ebden(AUS) vs Marcel Granollers(ESP)
- Thomaz Bellucci(BRA) vs Jordan Thompson(AUS)
Tennis fans should gear up for yet another exciting day to witness great tennis. It promises to be another day of good tennis to enjoy. Good luck to all the players and may the best emerge victorious.
-Vishakha Khandelwal [Vishakha is a Tennis Analyst for Sportz Cosmos. You can reach her at the gmail id : sportzcosmos]