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Australian Open missives - Day 2

Andy Murray
by Alexandra Willis at Melbourne Park
Tuesday 15 January 2013

Highlights from the second day of Australian Open 2013 at Melbourne Park...

Welcome back Andy
Andy Murray
's return to Grand Slam action was without too much fanfare and ado, which is probably just the way he wanted it. The US Open champion took three sets and an hour and 37 minutes to dispose of Robin Haase and put to rest any fears that he would follow a Grand Slam win with a first round exit. Murray, sporting a tighter t-shirt, was cheered on by a group of singing fans who are regular Australian Open visitors, and admitted that despite his bumped up CV, he was still nervous walking out onto the court. He didn't look it. Joao Sousa is next.  

What Maria can do...
Serena can do better. Serena Williams took 54 minutes, one minute less than Sharapova yesterday, to hand Edina Gallovits-Hall a double bagel in her opening match of Australian Open 2013. And all that despite rolling her right ankle somewhat nastily midway through the first set. With an entire packet of strapping applied to both ankles, so that they were balanced, Serena had little trouble, and was relatively cheery in press. The test will be how much the ankle swells. Watch this space. 

Youngsters on song
Tuesday was the day of the young female at Melbourne Park, as Sloane Stephens routed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-1, Laura Robson sailed past Melanie Oudin 6-2, 6-3, Donna Vekic, at 16, the youngest player in the draw, demolished Andrea Hlavackova 6-1, 6-2, and Annika Beck produced a topsy turvy 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-3 win over 28th seed and golden set girl Yaroslava Shvedova. There's Yulia Putintseva, too, who saw off Christina McHale 6-1, 6-7(0), 6-2. In 2012, there were just three female teens in the second round of the Australian Open. This year, there will be 11. Watch out for all of them

Tank engine no longer
Bernard Tomic lived up to his early summer season hype with a clincial three-set win over Leonardo Mayer in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena. The crowd went wild.  

In the name of entertainment
It was widely regarded to be a shame that Alexandr Dolgopolov and Gael Monfils had to meet in the first round, so enjoyable was their slicing, dicing and ducking and diving about Margaret Court Arena. But such is the luck of the draw. Nevertheless, the flamboyant duo kept the MCA crowd enthralled right until the last ball, Monfils eventually prevailing in four. 

The comeback 
How the Wozniacki camp must have breathed a sigh of utter relief as Caroline Wozniacki came through in three sets against the booming power of Sabine Lisicki, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. It was a close-run thing.  

Petra Kvitova had a similarly crucial win, defeating Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 for a major confidence boost. 

Milos Raonic meanwhile, the next big thing in men's tennis, was also forced to back pedal a little to overcome Jan Hajek, winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6(0). 

The upsets
As well as Shvedova, a few more seeds tumbled on the second day of Australian Open 2013, the highest of them the seventh seed, 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani, who was out-gunned 6-4, 6-4 by Carla Suarez Navarro. It was at this tournament, remember, that Suarez Navarro first sprung to attention, when she knocked out Venus Williams in 2009.

One of the most startling scorelines of the day came with Kimiko Date-Krumm's 6-2, 6-0 win over 12th seed Nadia Petrova, the Japanese veteran's first main draw win in Australia since 1995. She's only 42. 

In the men's draw, 29th seed Thomaz Bellucci was sent packing 3-6, 1-6, 3-6 by Blaz Kavcic, 

Crusing through
As well as those already mentioned, there were straight sets wins for Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin Del Potro, Richard Gasquet, Akgul Amanmuradova, Lukas Rosol, Luksika Kumkhum, Marcel Granollers, Jana Cepelova, Ayumi Morita, Victoria Azarenka, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Maria Kirilenko, Peng Shuai, Joao Sousa, Varvara Lepchenko, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Ricardas Berankis, Andreas Seppi, Roberta Vinci, Amir Weintraub, Su-Wei Hsieh, Alejandro Falla, and Lucie Safarova. 

Marathon matches
American wild card Rhyne Williams battled and battled, but couldn't hold onto a two sets to love lead against 25th seed Florian Mayer, losing 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 6-7(12), 1-6, while the all-Australian battle between James Duckworth and Benjamin Mitchell eneded 6-4, 7-6(8), 4-6, 5-7, 8-6 in Duckworth's favour. 

The ladies' equivalent was Garbine Muguruza's 14-12 in the third win over Magdalene Rybarikova. 

Wu Di may not be a name of much import to you. But the Chinese 21-year-old became the first Chinese man to play a main draw match at a Grand Slam. He lost, but never mind.  

They said it

"I'm a renowned ankle taper (smiling). I know exactly what to do. I've been taping my ankles for my whole career, so I hope I know how to do it."
Serena Williams  

"I would pay a lot of momenty to watch Gael Monfils. I would also pay a lot of money not to coach him."
Coach and commentator Darren Cahill 

Stat attack
Milos Raonic hit 30 aces in his four-set win over Jan Hajek, the sixth time in his career he has produced 30+ aces. 

A sad reminder
Less than two weeks after the tennis world was hit with the news of Ross Hutchins's diagnosis with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, another reminder of the fragility of human life came with the announcement that Brad Drewett, the ATP Executive Chairman and President, is suffering from Motor Neurone disease, also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. It is believed that the Australian has been suffering from the degenerative condition since taking over as the ATP's figurehead, and, after an interim period, will be stepping down. Thoughts are with him and his family.  

"It has been a privilege to serve as Executive Chairman and President of the ATP, an organization that I've been a part of for more than 35 years since I became a professional tennis player," said Drewett, a 54-year-old Australian. "I hold the ATP very close to my heart, and it's with sadness that I make the decision to enter this transition period due to my ill-health."

Coming up on Wednesday

Rod Laver Arena
Agnieszka Radwanska [4] v Irina-Camelia Begu
FB Guillaume Rufin v Tomas Berdych [5]
FB Zheng Jie v Samantha Stosur [9]

7pm Venus Williams [25] v Alize Cornet
FB Novak Djokovic [1] v Ryan Harrison 

Hisense Arena
Nicolas Almagro [10] v Daniel Gimeno-Traver
FB Li Na [6] v Olga Govortsova
FB Tatsuma Ito v Marcos Baghdatis [28]
FB Misaki Doi v Maria Sharapova [2] 

Margaret Court Arena
Angelique Kerber [5] v Lucie Hradecka
FB Julia Goerges [18] v Romina Oprandi
FB David Ferrer [4] v Tim Smyczek
FB Ana Ivanovic [13] v Chan Yung-Jan

7pm Fernando Verdasco [22] v Xavier Malisse

Other notables

2nd on Show Court 3 Madison Keys v Tamira Paszek [30]
4th on Show Court 3 Feliciano Lopz v Radek Stepanek [31] 
3rd on Court 5 Jamie Murray & Colin Fleming v Michael Kohlmann & Jarkko Nieminen
2nd on Court 6 Sam Querrey [20] v Brian Baker
2nd on Court 8  Ksenia Pervak v Heather Watson
3rd on Court 22 Laura Robson & Timea Babos v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova & Lucie Safarova


For all the reports and results from Melbourne Park, visit the Official Australian Open website

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