After the exodus of eight women’s seeds on the opening day of the Australian Open, seeds continued to tumble even on Day 2. Four men’s seeds and three women’s seeds wilted in the Melbourne heat while the big title contenders made smooth progress into Round 2 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, former World No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka setting up a second round showdown was one of the biggest talking points of the day.
Let’s have a look at some of the highlights from Day 2 of the Australian Open –
Coming up – Azarenka v Wozniacki 2nd round clash
Former two-time women’s champion Victoria Azarenka was unseeded this time after a tough year with injuries. That made her a dangerous floater for anyone in the draw. The former World No. 1 who is ranked 44th now, began her quest for a third Australian Open in thunderous fashion – dismantling Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2 for the third year in a row.
With the win it set her up against a player who she has known since the juniors, Caroline Wozniacki. The eighth-seeded Dane had a tougher encounter against American rising star Taylor Townsend whom she beat 7-6(1), 6-2.
It is unfortunate that the year’s first Grand Slam will lose Azarenka or Wozniacki so early but their clash is undoubtedly one of the most-awaited matches of the first week.
Big Guns progress into Round 2 of the Australian Open
Major title contenders like Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and defending champion Stan Wawrinka had no problems in dispatching their opponents in the opening round. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova too shone on Day 2 while Agnieszka Radwanska, Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer were the other big stars to make an entry into Round 2.
Serena Williams – Dismissing her sloppy Hopman Cup form, World No. 1 Serena Williams cruised through her first round match, against Alison Van Uytvanck by a 6-0, 6-4 scoreline.
Petra Kvitova – Erasing memories of her first round defeat from last year, the Sydney titlist Petra Kvitova had an easy opener against qualifier Richel Hogenkamp. Kvitova beat the Grand Slam debutante 6-1, 6-4.
Agnieszka Radwanska – Sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska fell a break behind initially but quickly regrouped to race into Round 2. The Polish star beat the talented Japanese Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-0.
Novak Djokovic – Putting to rest all doubts about his fitness, the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic dominated qualifier Aljaz Bedene to continue his hunt for his fifth Australian Open crown. The Serb was a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 winner on Tuesday.
Stan Wawrinka – The Swiss kicked off the defense of his Australian Open crown in style. The Chennai Open champion posted a convincing 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over World No. 100 Marsel Ilhan to move into the second round.
David Ferrer – The ninth seeded Spaniard had a little bit of hiccup in the first set tie-break but found his strokes just in time to make it through to the next round. The Qatar Open winner won 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-0, 6-3 over Thomaz Bellucci.
Kei Nishikori – Kei Nishikori had a dangerous first round opponent in former World No. 9 Nicolas Almagro. But the confident Japanese came through unscathed 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-2.
Some of the old warhorses like Venus Williams and Lleyton Hewitt also won their first round matches.
Gael Monfils comes back from 2 sets down
The Frenchman deserves a special mention for his fighting spirit and resilience. As always, the 28-year-old is one unpredictable player but never fails to thrill the crowd. He was involved in an exciting contest with compatriot and rising talent Lucas Pouille. Monfils was down two sets to love and then 0-3 down in the fifth set from where he stormed back to win 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.
Seeds to fall on Day 2
Men’s side – 16th seed Fabio Fognini, 21st seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, 25th seed Julien Benneteau and 27th seed Pablo Cuevas.
Women’s side – 12th seed Flavia Pennetta, 13th seed Andrea Petkovic, and 15th seed Jelena Jankovic.
Coming Up on Day 3
Second round action begins at the Melbourne Park on Wednesday with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova all in action. Indian stars also start their campaign with Sania Mirza and Leander Paes both featured on Day 3.