Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer produced near flawless tennis while the defending champion Novak Djokovic and the 2014 champion Stanislas Wawrinka overcame tricky opponents to open their campaign in Melbourne for the first grand slam of 2020. There was disappointing losses for two NextGen stars from Canada Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime as they lost in four sets in their opening round matches.
On Opening Day, six time champion Roger Federer looked razor sharp in his 6-3,6-2,6-2 demolition of the American Steve Johnson who has fallen to 75 in the rankings from a career high 21 in July 2016. The 38 year Swiss superstar who won the last of his record twenty grand slam titles two years ago in Melbourne, hit 34 winners in what was his first match in more than two months, showing little sign of rust. Seven time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia recovered after a sloppy third set beating the gritty German Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(5),6-2,2-6,6-1. Djokovic squandered an early break in the opening set and then dropped serve twice in losing the third set before finishing strong in the fourth set. The 2014 champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland beat Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina 7-5,6-7(4),6-4,6-4.
The thirteenth seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada was beaten by the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 3-6,7-6(7),1-6,6-7(3), while his compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded 20th, was upset by the qualifier Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 5-7,6-4,6-7(4),4-6. Other lower seeds to bow out were the 25th seeded Borna Coric of Croatia who was beaten in straight sets by the American Sam Querrey 3-6,4-6,4-6. The 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfred Tsonga retired trailing 7-6(5),2-6,1-6 to the local lad Alexei Popyrin.
Seeds four to eight also won their opening round matches in their quest to become the first player born in the 1990s to win a grand slam title. The US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev of Russia, seeded fourth, overcame the dangerous American Frances Tiafoe 6-3,4-6,6-4,6-2. Fifth seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria beat the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3,7-5,6-2. Sixth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beat the Italian Salvatore Caruso 6-0,6-2,6-3, while Alexander Zverev won his first match of the year beating another Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4,7-6(4),6-3.
Two other Italian seeds advanced in contrasting styles as the eighth seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini beat the Australian wildcard Andrew Harris 6-3,6-1,6-3. The twelveth seeded Fabio Fognini beat the giant American Reilly Opelka 3-6,6-7(3),6-4,6-3,7-6(5) in a match which was suspended on Monday due to rain when Fognini trailed by two sets.
There were good wins for the ninth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut who beat fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-2,6-2,7-5. Tenth seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils won 6-1,6-4,6-2 against Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei. Eleventh seeded David Goffin of Belgium beat the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4,6-3,6-1. The highest ranked Argentine Diego Schwartzman beat the South African Lloyd Harris, a recent finalist in Adelaide 6-4,6-2,6-2. The Russian Karen Khachanov beat the Spanish qualifier Mario Vilella Martinez 4-6,6-4,7-6(4),6-3.
The following is the list of second round matches with my pick mentioned first :-
Novak Djokovic (2) v. Tatsumo Ito (-)
Daniel Evans (30) v. Yoshihito Nishioka (-)
Dusan Lajovic (24) v. Marc Polmans (-)
Diego Schwartzman (14) v. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (-)
Roberto Bautista Agut (9) v. Michael Mmoh (-)
Marin Cilic (-) v. Benoit Paire (21)
Milos Raonic (32) v. Christian Garin (-)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) v. Phillipp Kohlschreiber (-)
Roger Federer (3) v. Filip Krajinovic (-)
John Millman (-) v. Hubert Hurkacz (31)
Grigor Dimitrov (18) v. Tommy Paul (-)
Martin Fucsovics (-) v. Jannik Sinner (-)
Fabio Fognini (12) v. Jordan Thompson (-)
Guido Pella (22) v. Gregoire Barrere (-)
Sam Querrey (-) v. Ricardas Berankis (-)
Matteo Berrettini (8) v. Tennys Sandgren (-)
Alexander Zverev (7) v. Egor Gerasimov (-)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (26) v. Fernando Verdasco (-)
Andrey Rublev (17) v. Yuichi Sugita (-)
David Goffin (12) v. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (-)
Stanislas Wawrinka (15) v. Andreas Seppi (-)
John Isner (19) v. Alejandro Tabilo (-)
Alexei Popyrin (-) v. Jaume Munar (-)
Daniil Medvedev (4) v. Pedro Martinez (-)
Dominic Thiem (5) v. Alex Bolt (-)
Taylor Fritz (29) v. Kevin Anderson (-)
Aljaz Bedene (-) v. Ernests Gulbis (-)
Gael Monfils (10) v. Ivo Karlovic (-)
Karen Khachanov (16) v. Mikael Ymer (-)
Nick Kyrgios (23) v. Gilles Simon (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (27) v. Peter Gojowczyk (-)
Rafael Nadal (1) v. Federico Delbonis (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]