On the second day of the Australian Open, it was a pretty routine day for all of the expected victors with a few exceptions. Novak Djokovic only lost two games in his defeat of Italian Paolo Lorenzi. Andy Murray dropped his opening set against American youngster Ryan Harrison, but then won 46 63 64 62. Tsonga came through in 4, which is a little surprising that he lost a set. Gilles Simon came through in a tight 5-setter. Tipsarevic, Roddick, Raonic, Nishikori, Hewitt, Gasquet, and Troicki came through as well. The closest thing to an upset all day on the men's side would probably be Stepanek or Youzhny going out.
Alright, time to focus on the (supposed) saviour of British tennis, Andy Murray. He lost the first set to Harrison but in the big picture that means little. Federer lost the first set to Andreev two years ago and almost went down two sets to one, and two weeks later he won the tournament. I'm not saying that Murray will win the tournament, but the 4-set win shouldn't be taken too seriously. Having said that, he still has a very tough draw and will need to be much better than he was if he wants a shot at challenging Djokovic in the semis. On another note, I think it's clear after the first round of play that the most potentially intriguing match is Djokovic vs Raonic in the Round of 16. With both men playing as well as they are, fireworks could fly. It is an interesting dynamic as well with an elite server going up against an elite returner.
Matches on this half of the draw to watch for in Round 2 are Raonic vs Petzschner and Roddick vs Hewitt. Andy vs Lleyton should be very good, and I expect it to be very close. Both players are pretty much on the same level now, the downsides of their careers. Both are trailing off fast. Bellucci vs Monfils could also be a highly entertaining match.
In the bottom half Round 2 action, there are many compelling matchups. Wawrinka/Baghdatis, Isner/Nalbandian, Querrey/Tomic, Stakohvsky/Anderson, and Dimitrov/Almagro (fun for the one-handers like me) should all be good, competitive matches. Even a match like Nadal vs Haas, while predictable, could be a little fun because Haas is close to retirement at this stage. Any time to see him play against a top guy is a good match to watch. I also look for Roger to inprove on his play from his first match, and I suspect he might have an easier contest.
Until next time,