Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 1 Australian Open

Day 1 has produced a huge upset which came in the very first match of the two-week banquet of tennis. Russian superstar Maria Sharapova was booted out of the tournament at the first hurdle by compatriot and good friend, Maria Kirilenko. Kirilenko is little heard of in the tennis world with most male supporters closely observing her body as opposed to her game. Yet she put on a performance worthy of a Grand Slam final to push Sharapova all the way.

She duly took the opening set on a tiebreaker after more than an hour's frantic play which saw numerous breaks of serve early on as both players tried to settle down. But every point was a slog, and Sharapova, who won here in 2008, was starting to commit too many double faults and unforced errors. She did rally in the 2nd however, taking it 6-3 to send the match into a decider.

But the errors continued and despite breaking Kirilenko's serve at 2-5 to hang on, she succumbed in her opponent's next service game, Kirilenko prevailing 6-4 to take the 3-hour plus match and dump out one of the pre-tournament favourites. Unfortunately for Sharapova, the new dress and special earrings have only graced the stage once and must now go back in the cupboard prematurely.

Belgian Kim Clijsters, the come-back mum, made quick work of her opening match, triumphing 6-0, 6-4 in just under an hour against qualifier Tretault.

In the men's draw, Andy Murray enjoyed an easy opener against giant Kevin Anderson, winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 at a canter. A nice start for the British hope, but there will be many more tougher assignments ahead.

I'm looking forward to the night session, with Rafael Nadal and home favourite Jelena Dokic in action. And of course tomorrow, Roger Federer begins his quest for a 16th Slam with a tricky first round tie with Igor Andreev, who took the Swiss to five sets in the 2008 US Open. Check back for all the latest news from the hottest Grand Slam of the year!

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