Australian Open 2018: Day 2 Review

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The defending champion Roger Federer and former champions Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka came through their opening round matches on Day 2 at the first grand slam of the year at Flinder’s Park in Melbourne. They have been joined by Juan Martin Del Potro, the German prodigy Alexander Zverev, David Goffin of Belgium and the Austrian Dominic Thiem. The upsets continued as the 2016 semi finalist Milos Raonic of Canada and the Auckland champion Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain we’re beaten on Tuesday.

The second seeded Swiss Roger Federer who has won the title five times, never dropped serve in his 6-3,6-4,6-3 win over the 51st ranked Aljaz Bedene, born in Slovenia. The 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina won with the same scoreline against the American Frances Tiafoe in the evening session matches.

The much anticipated return to action for both Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka was the highlight of the morning session as the six time champion from Serbia tamed left handed American Donald Young 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. The 2014 champion, Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, like Djokovic also playing his first match since Wimbledon last year, beat the Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis who is playing on protected ranking after his return from injury, in four sets, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(2).

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The fourth seeded Alexander Zverev was extended in the second and third sets but prevailed over the 73rd ranked Italian Thomas Fabbiano 6-1,7-6(5),7-5. The fifth seeded Dominic Thiem had no problems dispatching the Argentine Guido Pella 6-4,6-4,6-4, while David Goffin seeded seventh, overcame a hesitant start against the German Mathias Bachinger before prevailing 6-7(3),6-3,6-2,6-4.

The Auckland champion, Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded 20th, suffered a shock 1-6,5-7,5-7 loss to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, while Milos Raonic, seeded 22nd, was upset by Lukas Lacko of Slovenia, 7-6(5),5-7,4-6,6-7(4). The 32nd seeded German Mischa Zverev, who had beaten the top ranked Andy Murray in the fourth round last year, was forced to retire dye to injury, trailing 2-6,1-4 to the Korean teenager Hyeon Chung.

The remaining six seeded players to advance were Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, American Sam Querrey, Italian Fabio Fognini, Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas and the Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Adrian Mannarino.

Following is the list of matches to be played in the top half of the men’s draw with my pick mentioned first :-
Rafael Nadal (1) v. Leonardo Mayer (-)

John Millman (-) v. Damir Dzumhur (28)

Diego Schwartman (24) v. Casper Ruud (-)

Alexander Dolgopolov (-) v. Matthew Ebden (-)

Gilles Simon (-) v. Pablo Carreno Busta (10)

Gilles Muller (23) v. Malek Jaziri (-)

Pablo Cuevas (31) v. Ryan Harrison (-)

Marin Cilic (6) v. Joao Sousa (-)

Grigor Dimitrov (3) v. Mackenzie McDonald (-)

Andrey Rublev (30) v. Marcos Baghdatis (-)

Nick Kyrgios (17) v. Victor  Troicki (-)

Jo Wilfred Tsonga (15) v. Denis Shapovalov (-)

Kyle Edmund (-) v. Denis Istomin (-)

Ruben Bemelmans (-) v. Nikoloz Basilashvili (-)

Andreas Seppi (-) v. Yoshihito Nishioka (-)

Yuichi Sugita (-) v. Ivo Karlovic (-).

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The top seed in the women’s section of the draw, Simona Halep of Romania, struggled initially against local hope Destanee Aiava, aged 17, before coming through 7-6(5), 6-1 to open her bid for a maiden grand slam title. The Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain beat the Frenchwoman Jessika Ponchet 6-4,6-3. Also advancing were the sixth seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, eighth seeded Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, Ashley Barty of Australia, Briton Johanna Konta, former world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany, the 2016 champion.

The biggest attraction of the day was the return of the Russian Maria Sharapova who beat German Tatiana Maria 6-1,6-4 in what was her first appearance at the Australian Open and only her second grand slam after serving a 15 month ban for doping in January 2016. She is joined by fellow Russian Elina Vesnina, the American Madison Keys, Anastasia Sevatsova of Latvia, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia and Barbara Strycova of the Czech Republic.

There was big disappointment for the two time former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova as she lost 3-6,6-4,8-10 to the German Andrea Petkovic.  Joining her on the sidelines is the Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic who lost to the Romanian Ana Bogdan 3-6,2-6. However, Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland won their opening matches on Tuesday.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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