3rd seed Kim Clijsters, the favorite to win the 2011 Australian Open, gave the crowd a taste of her focus during her first round on the second day of the event. Clijsters defeated 2009 finalist Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-0 in just 44 minutes.
Clijsters knows what it feels like. Last year, she was beaten down 6-0, 6-1 by Nadia Petrova in the third round of the Open.
Prior to the match, as some of us were discussing earlier today, the commentators on ESPN chatted for some time about Safina's history of mental collapses, and need to do something about her mental strength. And while that discussion is relevant, it is simply not the whole story. For one thing, the big collapses occurred only in major finals. Also, the commentators--led by Patrick McEnroe--failed to mention the former number 1's career-threatening back injury that took her off the tour twice, and caused her to miss months of play. (In contrast, the same commentators were telling us every five minutes that Juan Martin Del Potro may struggle because he was out for so long with a wrist injury.)
A memorable match was played between 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska (who Tennis Channel commentators forgot to mention--until the last mintue--has not played since September because of surgery for a stress fracture in her foot) and Kimiko Date Krumm. They each won a set, and the third set was a see-saw of momentum. It was impossible to predict who would win. Date Krumm went up 4-1, but then Radwanska had to take a medical break because her back was bothering her. After that break, Date Krumm was never the same, and it surely didn't help that the usually burning hot Melbourne court temperature was pleasantly cool. Still, it was hard to determine who would prevail, and toward the end, Radwanska inadvertently supplied some first-rate comic relief. Then she won the match, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Ekaterina Makarova upset 19th seed and 2008 finalist Ana Ivanovic, Alicia Molik won an entertaining match against Roberta Vinci, Ayumi Morita upset 27th seed Alexandra Dulgheru, and Jelena Jankovic hit ten aces. Among those saying goodbye were Australians Anastasia Rodionova, Sophie Ferguson and Sally Peers. Melanie Oudin, Patty Schnyder and Auckland champion Greta Arn were also among the defeated on day 2.