Monday, January 18, 2010

Aussie Open Day 1: Rafa, Clijsters, Murray Advance, Sharapova Bows Out

It sure didn't take long for an upset to occur on day 1 of the Australian Open. First up on Rod Laver Arena were Maria Sharapova and Maria Kirilenko. After Sharapova blew the first set, losing in a tiebreak, she recovered to win the second set. Kirilenko jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the deciding set, and battled her nerves to hold on for the victory. “It’s just a bad day, and a bad day is not going to stop me from doing what I love. I’m still going to go back on the court and work hard and perform. I’ll be back here on the Saturday of a second week. You’ll watch," said Sharapova, who commiteed an embarrasing 76 errors in the first round loss, her first at a mjor since the 2003 French Open when she was 16.

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, both in the fourth quarter of the men's draw, advanced in three sets. Nadal wasn't his best in the 7-6 (0), 6-1, 6-4 victory, while Murray was lights out, crushing Kevin Anderson 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. Ivo Karlovic took out 13th seeded Radek Stepanek in five sets, joining Aussie Bernard Tomic and Ivan Ljubicic in the second round.

Justine Henin and Elena Dementieva both cruised to victory to set up an exciting second round match between the two. In that same quarter, Kim Clijsters crushed Valerie Tetreault 6-0, 6-4, Svetlana Kuznetsova surrendered just three games in a win, and Flavia Pennetta advanced in a tight three-setter.

Dinara Safina looked shaky in her two-set win, while the majority of the other matches in the bottom section were delayed due to rain.

Andy Roddick looked extremely impressive in a straight-set win over Thiemo de Bakker, and Juan Martin del Potro, the highest seed in the third quarter of the draw, was hampered by a wrist injury in his four-set win over Michael Russell. The Argentine claimed his wrist hurt him "a little bit". Fernando Gonzalez, the tournament's 12th seed, also advanced in four sets.

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