Australian Open 2010 under way

Jan 18, 2010

Those last-day-of-the-slam blues feel a long way away on this glorious first day of the Australian Open. I say glorious, but in fact it started raining in Australia today as the tennis started. Go figure.

As usual there were a couple of slip-ups (quite literally for Andy Roddick) and mishaps (oh Sharapova, why?) in the first day, but things appear to be going as well as they should be. The rain has called some delays but I’m sure there are farmers somewhere in the area cheering, so let’s not get too down about it.

First, the men’s side of things. The big favourites all made their way through, and thankfully Andy Roddick seemed Ok after tripping over a line judge and taking a bit of a tumble: “I ran into one of those immovable objects called a referee…He wasn’t really trying to do much to get out of the way. Normally, they see a player running full speed, they decide to at least move or catch the player” claimed Roddick. He must feel a little sensitive about the issue, seeing as it was a fall during his Wimbledon final against Roger Federer that scuppered his US Open chances. Still, the American beat Thiemo de Bakker in straight sets.

It was a similar picture for Rafael Nadal, who is struggling to come back after his long injury lay-up, but beat Peter Luczak to get to the second round. Juan Martin del Potro came a little unstuck against his first and significantly shorter opponent (5ft 8in to Del Potro’s 6ft 6in), Michael Russell. It took four sets, but Delpo worked out the wrist injury that has been plaguing him to take the match.

Fernando Gonzalez also had a four set battle before he got through to the second round, but poor Radek Stepanek had a tough draw and ended up losing to the giant that is Ivo Karlovic.

Britain let out a sigh of relief when both Andy Murray and Elena Baltacha made it through the first round. They are even showing a couple of days of tennis on British TV, which just goes to show the faith the country has in its home grown players. In fact every Murray match will be live on BBC 1 or 2. Honestly Britain, have a bit of dignity. We may be very excited that one of our players is World No. 5, but we’re not supposed to let the other countries know that.

Onto the women’s progress, and Maria Sharapova has been knocked out of the tournament already. Is this is the first in a string of top ranked players pitching out early, allowing some of the lower ranked (and returning) players to get a say in things? If the US Open has shown us anything, it’s that anything is possible and that rankings – and this seems particularly true in the women’s game – doesn’t really count for much. Sharapova was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 by fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko.

Many will be delighted to hear that Justine Henin is continuing her fantastic returning form to get through to the second round, and in a similar fashion Kim Clijsters took just over an hour to dispatch Valerie Tetreault. Henin has a difficult second round match-up though, coming up against Elena Dementieva. We all have our breath held for that one. Also through is Dinara Safina and Yanina Wickmayer.

Apart from the Sharapova Shock, the first day has been and gone with little turmoil. I am in completely the wrong time-zone to be watching and commenting on this tournament, so I suspect Day Two matches will have already started. I promise I will do my best to keep up to date, even if I have to stay up into the wee hours. It’s not like I can complain. Who wouldn’t want to keep up to speed with what is promising to be a fantastic tournament?

Now, I’ve decided that in the spirit of new media and social networking, I am going to add a new feature to the end of these blogs: ‘My Favourite Twit’. Yes I am well aware that the technical term is ‘Tweet’, but Twit is much more amusing, if you can call a rather annoying and all-pervasive social networking medium amusing. I will add my favourite Tweets from the Twitter accounts of the tennis players at the end of each blog, whether they be weird, insightful, or informative. And as we all know, these guys can be a little bit of all three if they so wish. Even if you can’t stand the idea of Tweeting to two uninterested strangers that you are going to have toast for breakfast instead of cereal, I would recommend joining up to follow your favourite tennis players. They’re often honest, funny, and a good insight into the game from a player’s perspective.

My Favourite Twit

andy_murray: Locker room packed watching Sharapova Kirilenko can’t imagine why…

- SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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