AO2012 Day 2 Wrap: Constrasting fortunes (by PJ)
So, let’s have a quick wrap on day 2 before we proceed to the 64 men and women still alive in the singles’ draw. I was not at Melbourne Park today, due to the fact that I have to earn a living and such (although I manage to grovel for a day off tomorrow…tsk tsk I have no dignity when it comes to tennis) and I was really overwhelmed by the heat yesterday, so it was right that I took leave from tennis.
Being in Australia…the biggest news of the day, even bigger that Bratomic’s defeat of Verdasco yesterday – would be Sam Stosur’s straight-sets defeat to Sorana Cirstea.
Is it surprising? Kind of. Is it unexpected? Not really. Is it sad? Well, yes.
I didn’t see the match, not one bit of it, but Twitter told me that Cirstea was playing brilliant and Sam was playing mediocre, and that made all the difference. Let’s face it, Australia is desperate for an Australian to win Australian Open. The best bet, all things considered, is Samantha Stosur. She was never known for being mentally strong – although I had hoped that the US Open win last year signified a positive change – and I do believe in the end, the pressure got to be a bit too much for her.
Well, at least this will make people look the other way when the next tournament rolls around. And then I certainly hope for Sam to power back, because girl’s got the game, and she has the heart. Remember RG2010 and USO2011? No one even gave her half a chance and she somehow steadily sneaked her way into the finals. I hope for that to happen again, sooner rather than later.
The other Australians fared better – Jelena Dokic, James Duckworth and Matt Ebden recording victories to progress to the next round. Huge moment for Duckworth in his AO debut – I saw him play (and lost) the wildcard playoffs last year, and I think he actually has potential. He’s only nineteen, so if he works hard and does not lose the passion…he may be a name to be known in the future. But Jarka Gadjosova joined Sam on the losers roll, losing to Maria Kirilenko.
The old man Lleyton Hewitt also pulled through – in four sets – in his typical fashion. Played some solid tennis to get to a 2-sets-to-love lead, and then opponent (German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe) suddenly gained momentum as Hewitt lost the will to land first serves…therefore leading to Hewitt losing the third set. The momentum continued and soon Mr.Famous Five Sets find himself facing yet another 5-setter as he trailed 1-5 in the fourth.
(By this time, I was all ready to cliff myself. Serious.)
But what they say about Lleyton Hewitt is true…don’t ever count him out, whatever you do, and never let him back into a match, because chances are he will then hang on like a barnacle and never let go. That was precisely what happened. Stebe got nervous, lost serve once, lost serve twice, and soon Hewitt was up 6-5…but up against Gramps Hewitt (as well as the whole parochial arena), he buckled, dumped a forehand into the net, and Lleyton celebrated like he just won the final.
He earns himself a second-round match with his pal in the Gramps club, Gramps Andy Roddick (who beat Robin Haase in straight sets, avoiding the drama of last year). I will be there for that match (I hope) and I will cry like I did during Hewitt/Nalbandian last year, because it will not end well for me. Even more so when I think it may possibly be Hewitt’s last AO and Roddick’s second last or third last or even last.
As for other matches…
1) Bad day for the male Russians as Mikhail Youzhny headsmashed himself out of the tournament against Andrey Golubev, in a hysterical match with 17 breaks of serve. Igor Kunitsyn lost to Pablo Andujar in straights, and Dmitry Tursunov lost to Janko Tipsarevic after losing a long tie-break in the second set (he was one set up). New Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr survived though. I know I keep saying I want to kick the Colonel off my bandwagon…to be honest I’m not completely sure why he’s still there.
2) Andy Murray got taken to four sets by Ryan “The Ego” Harrison. As I’ve heard, MAndy started dismally, not serving well and basically just playing like his ass was hurting him. However, when he got a grip of himself in the second set, he was never really threatened, wrapping up the match in four sets. Interesting observation: some people seem to think he was toning down on the swearing and yelling and muttering because of Mr.Lendl. Mr.Lendl may be good for that attitude yet, hey?
3) Juan Carlos Ferrero – couldn’t keep up his strong performance for the first two sets and ended up losing to Viktor Troicki in 5 sets. So close to pulling off a great win.
4) Ernest Gulbis provided the bipolar match of the day, whipping Micheal Llodra in the first set and then got whipped in the next three. Dude’s never going to sort himself out, is he?
5) Other notable Frenchmen – Simon, Tsonga, Benny, Monfils etc – all got through, in contrasting fashions – straight sets, four sets, five sets, retirements. Special mention to Nicolas Mahut, who oust Rad Steps in straights.
6) The other big-named women – Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova and Shrieky Sharapova all breezed through the matches. My worry about Gisela Dulko proved to be utterly in vain as Shrieky dismantled her completely, only giving her a game.
7) Uber sad that Sammy was the only seed to fall from the women’s side – although Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova needed three sets to beat their opponents.
That’s the wrap post in short for the day. And of course, there will be more to come.
P.S. oh, Djokovic won as well. I nearly forgot about him because…well, I don’t care enough? LOL.