It was a dramatic first day of the Australian Open – here’s everything we learned from the events of the day, with Andrew as your day 1 guide:
1- Eva Asderaki-Moore is actually called Evanthia
Wait, Evanthia? pic.twitter.com/Eir8OF0AVU
— Jon (@Jon_Skiing) January 19, 2015
I honestly had no idea! Evanthia is a really nice name, too. I will never use ‘Eva’ again now that I’ve learned this. The Greeks have the best names.
2- Grigor Dimitrov has no time for drama
Dimitrov started his Australian Open campaign at a lightning pace, defeating Dustin Brown 6-2 6-3 6-2. Brown can play with a lot of flash and really disrupt your rhythm out on the court, so Dimitrov did well to completely neutralise the threat in a high pressure situation.
The world number 11 (and bendiness KING) finds himself in a quarter with Andy Murray and Roger Federer, so conserving energy for those match ups is certainly a good move.
3- Simona Halep’s forehand didn’t make it to Australia yet
Halep came through the first round with a 6-3 6-3 win, Karin Knapp offering little by way of resistance. Although it was Knapp who payed the price for wild errors and inconsistent play, it has to be noted that Halep’s game was looking anything but clean. The Romanian’s forehand was either leaking errors or providing Knapp with opportunities to go on the attack, successfully or otherwise.
Halep is a good enough player to win these kind of matches despite playing below par, but she’ll have to give her travel provider a call to see if that forehand is winging its way down under if she doesn’t want a higher level of opponent to send her down and out.
4- Julia Goerges can still play tennis (and Bencic is still young)
In case you’ve forgotten, Julia Goerges is a German woman who plays tennis. She used to play good tennis, regularly. She now…doesn’t. BUT she did play a great match in the first round here at the Australian Open, taking out 32nd seed and young upstart Belinda Bencic 6-2 6-1 by applying high pressure with hard hitting groundstrokes and attacking volleys.
Bencic, for her part, did not play well at all – her trademark backhand wasn’t even mildly firing. It remains to be seen if she can back up her great 2014. Remember, she’s still 17(!)
5- Maria Sharapova has an app now
It’s called “Official Maria Sharapova app” which is a bit clunky, but it actually has a fairly nice thumbnail once you’ve downloaded it. Yes, I have downloaded it. You have to create an account at the start, and then you see a screen that says “preparing your experience”…
I’m more amused than intrigued, and now that I’ve had a closer look at the content my amusement is only growing. I will provide a full article on the Sharapova app later in the week once I’ve had time to really absorb the “experience” that has been prepared for me.
6- The Australian guys showed up ready to play
Not a bad start at all for the male Australian contingent, with Tomic, Duckworth, Groth, Matosevic, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis all progressing to the second round. The latter had the hardest path, surviving a five set tussle with Ernests Gulbis – not a competitor for the faint of heart. Kokkinakis won with an impressively tumultuous scoreline of 5-7 6-0 1-6 7-6 8-6.
Kyrgios, who also came through in five sets, faces the challenge of returning Ivo Karlovic’s serve in the next round – that could be an equally dramatic endeavour.
7- Wearing black in the heat is a bad call
Svetlana Kuznetsova, what were you thinking?! The two time grand slam champion couldn’t stand the heat in the end, falling to Caroline Garcia in straight sets.
8- In Grand Slam tennis, nobody is safe
In true round one tradition, day one of the Australian Open threw up some shocking exits and dazzling falls from grace. The bottom half of the women’s draw in particular has been opened up dramatically, thanks to losses from Ivanovic, Kerber, Bencic, Lisicki, Pavlyuchenkova, Kuznetsova, Suarez-Navarro and Safarova. Yes, in one day, the women’s draw lost eight seeds. Ivanovic was by far the most shocking loss of the day (I had picked her as runner-up of the tournament, by the way!) and she’ll leave Melbourne feeling much less happy than she did after defeating Serena Williams last year.
Survivors Sharapova, Halep, Bouchard, Diyas, Peng, Errani, Makarova and Pliskova will be feeling very good about their draws right now.
9- Better out than in…
…no, I’m not talking about the tramlines, I’m talking about poor old Christina McHale who had to suffer the embarrassment of vomiting on the court. BUT, it wasn’t all bad news: after she purged herself of her ills, she was able to go on and win the match 6-4 1-6 12-10. A victory to remember, even if she’d rather forget some of her day.
Tune in again tomorrow for the low down on day 2!