Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 1 in Melbourne mostly routine

There were no surprises on the first day of the Australian Open, and by "no surprises," I mean that Tamira Paszek played for 2 hours and 43 minutes. This time, she dragged poor Stefanie Voegele through the ordeal. Paszek won, by the way.

Four qualifiers and one wild card (Madison Keys) made it to the second round. Agnieszka Radwanska had a hard time with the wind (oh, where is Vera Zvonareva when you really need her?), Ksenia Pervak showed Mona Barthel the door, and Dominika Cibulkova had a hard time with Ashleigh Barty, who took a set off of the Sydney finalist. I look forward to seeing a lot more of the young Australian player.

Venus Williams, dressed in probably my favorite EleVen dress, easily defeated Galina Voskoboeva. Sam Stosur survived the first round by beating Chang Kai-Chen. However, in the next round, the anxious Aussie faces Zheng Jie, the WTA's Energizer Bunny. Zheng is no stranger to success in Melbourne; in 2010, she beat the world's number 1 player and advanced to the semifinals. Stosur is vulnerable, and Zheng is an especially dangerous player because of her speed.

If Stosur survives Zheng, she'll probably (the key word) have to play Julia Goerges, who likes to mess with top-ranked players. Li Na also lurks in that section, so the 2011 U.S. Open champion isn't likely to  have an easy time of it.

Maria Sharapova had a pretty easy time of it, defeating Olga Pouchkova 6-0, 6-0 (probably just showing off for Aga Radwanska). Angelique Kerber (who is already cranky, and it's just the first round), had to do more work against Elina Svitolina than the 6-2, 6-4 scoreline suggests. Marion Bartoli beat Hopman Cup champion Anabel Medina Garrigues, and Heather Watson advanced to the second round, where Pervak awaits her.

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