Australian Open Day 2 wrap
Match of the day:
In a performance that can only now be described as vintage, Lleyton Hewitt has once again lived up to the moniker of the “little Aussie battler”. In the worst of the late afternoon heat, the 32-year-old Hewitt clawed his way back from two sets down to 24th seed Andreas Seppi. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for the Australian veteran, who lost in five marathon sets – 7-6, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 7-5. Despite breaking Seppi and looking good early, Hewitt was matched by the Italian in the middle stages of the first set. It went to a tie-break, and that convincingly fell the way of Seppi. The 24th seed continued his good form into the second, taking it with ease, but as the shadows crept their way across Rod Laver Arena, Hewitt crept back, gritting his way to even the score at two sets apiece.
The fifth looked like a straightforward victory to Seppi, who broke the Australian early in the set. But as sure as the sun rises, it only fuelled Hewitt’s determination. He broke back to level the scores, and then brought up an improbable match point on Seppi’s next service game. However, it was Seppi’s time to show some ticker and he managed to hold his nerve, and his serve. It was Seppi who then found the extra burst of energy, breaking Hewitt easily, and then holding to love to win the match in front of a silent Rod Laver crowd.
Nick Kyrgios was a breath of fresh air for Australian fans during the hot day, getting the better of Benjamin Becker of Germany in four sets to deliver the 18-year-old his second Grand Slam win. Kyrgios, despite needing attention twice for a suspect shoulder, moved around the court fantastically, serving and attacking with great power. Not afraid to attempt some brave but sometimes reckless passing shots, he beat Becker with relative ease, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6. On Rod Laver Arena, James Duckworth couldn’t handle the mammoth task of undoing four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer. The Swiss maestro seemed cool, calm and collected, outpointing Duckworth 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Marinko Matosevic has yet another Grand Slam loss to lament. The now 12-time loser in the first round couldn’t manage to knock off 16th seed Kei Nishikori, as their match stretched over a remarkable five sets in the heat. The game ebbed and flowed ridiculously, Matosvic was penalised, argued with umpires and yelled at the crowd, but it wasn’t motivation enough to get himself over the line. Storm Sanders was impressive in defeat, going down to fancied Italian Camila Giorgi. After winning a tight first set, the 19-year-old Sanders was unable to capitalise, going down in three, 6-4, 1-6, 4-6. Olivia Rogowska was able to defeat Mariana Duque Marino late in the day, securing her second ever second-round berth at the Australian Open. She did it in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.
Winners are grinners:
Former world number ones Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka made sure they were only outside for limited time, they wrapped up their matches after just over an hour each. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jelena Jankovic were equally as clinical later in the day, but there was some trouble for the fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who lost the second set in her match to Yulia Putinseva, but managed to scrape through all the same. Andy Murray showed no signs of trouble after his back surgery late last year, he won easily in straight sets over Go Soeda. American number one John Isner wasn’t going to stick around after losing the first two sets of his match, he retired on court six. He was found to be re-aggravating an ankle injury that he has been having niggling issues with. Later, on the very same court, it was the heat that took another victim, this time Canadian Frank Dancevic, who passed out in the second set of his match against Benoit Paire. Dancevic resumed, but lost shortly after.
Quote of the day:
Roger Federer was asked the most obvious question in a post-match interview. So Roger, how did you handle the heat? “I’m here, I’m breathing,” he joked. “It’s not crazy, so I’m happy [to play].”