By Brian O’ Connell
There were few upsets to report after the first round of the men’s draw came to a close on Tuesday night. All of the top ten seeds cruised into the second round with straight sets wins being the order of the day.
Roger Federer defeated Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4 6-2 7-5 in what was a relatively easy contest for the 17-time Grand Slam winner. Federer will next face Simone Bolelli of Italy in the second round.
Novak Djokovic also coasted through to the second round with a win over the Slovenian Aljaz Bedene. Up next for the Serb is Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
Rafael Nadal and defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka proceeded to the second round with wins over Mikhail Youzhny and Marsel Ilhan respectively, while fifth seed Kei Nishikori saw off a potentially difficult opponent in Nicholas Almagro with a convincing three-set victory.
Andy Murray progressed without too much difficulty, beating Yuki Bhambri 6-3 6-4 7-6. Aussie power-house Marinko Matosevic awaits the Brit in round two.
Tenth seed Grigor Dimitrov swept aside Dustin Brown in a game in which the flamboyant German never really got going. The final score was 6-2 6-3 6-2.
In one of the ties of the round, Aussie Thanasi Kokkanakis defeated the number 11 seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in a gruelling five-set match. Kokkanakis eventually won 8-6 in the fifth to send Gulbis out in what was one of the biggest shocks on day one of the tournament.
Another young Australian, Bernard Tomic, saw off the efforts of Germany’s Tobias Kamke to win 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-2. Success also came to the older generation of Aussie players as Lleyton Hewitt put up a typically gritty performance against Ze Zheng of China, winning in four. Sam Groth served his way to a straight-sets win over Filip Krajinovic. It will be a clash of generations in the next round, as that win sets Groth up with a tie against fellow compatriot, 19-year old Kokkanakis, who will be full of confidence after his upset of Gulbis.
And to the women’s draw:
Although reigning champion Li Na is not defending her title at this year’s tournament, she did make a return to Melbourne Park on the opening day, where she showed off her Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena.
In the shock of the tournament so far, Ana Ivanovic was beaten by Lucie Hradecka in three sets to send the 2008 finalist crashing out. 28th seed Sabine Lisicki was dumped out by Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic. And things only got worse for the Germans when Angelique Kerber lost out to Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.
Number one seed and five-time winner Serena Williams rushed to a 6-0 6-4 victory over Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, while Maria Sharapova eased to a 6-4 6-1 win over Petra Martic. Williams has a difficult second round opponent in two-time semi-finalist Vera Zvonareva, unlike Sharapova, who faces the relatively unknown Alexandra Panova, also of Russia.
Polish sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska fought her way back from a sluggish start to an eventual 6-3 6-0 win over Japan’s Kurumi Nara and will play Sweden’s Johnanna Larsson in the next round.
Home-favourite Sam Stosur overcame some early nerves to beat tricky Romanian Monica Nicolescu 6-4 6-1, progressing to a second round tie against Belgian Coco Vandeweghe.
(Make sure to come back on Thursday for analysis of all the second round ties)
Image courtesy of Essentially Sports