Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Federer Battles Through - Day 2

It has been six years since Roger Federer last dropped a set in the first round of a Grand Slam event. Against Igor Andreev he did just that in perhaps the toughest opener he has ever had since he drew Kafelnikov at Wimbledon 2000. Andreev started the brighter, taking the opening set 6-4, but Federer has the ability to up his game a few levels when needed, and he did precisely that to even up the match with a 6-2 2nd set scoreline. He admitted after the match to Jim Courier that he was extremely lucky to win the 3rd set. It was hard to see him coming through it at the time, especially when Andreev had the set on his racquet, serving at 6-5. However, Federer managed to claw out a service break when he needed it, and charged through the tiebreak as the Russian's forehand completely collapsed.

With a 2-1 lead, the pressure visibly lifted from the Swiss master's shoulders as he romped through the 4th in a 6-0 whitewash, looking more like his real self. The match turned on the 3rd set and Federer was fortunate this time. Later in the tournament he may need to start off matches at the level he displayed in the 4th set here. And it was fitting that he praised his opponent by stating that Andreev "is a wonderful player." How can anyone NOT like this man?

Home favourite Lleyton Hewitt safely made it through to the 2nd round to remain on collision course with Roger Federer in a possible fourth round meeting. Unfortunately, fellow Aussie Alicia Molik failed to progress, experiencing a mid-match collapse as she bowed out to a fighting Julie Coin.

Today's surprise came in the men's draw as 8th seed Robin Soderling, last year's French Open finalist, lost to Marcel Granollers, after having won the first two sets. This opens up the draw for Djokovic and Tsonga, who both enjoyed straight-sets wins in their openers.

Venus and Serena predictably thrashed their respective first round opponents as they look as menacing as ever and are on course for a semi-final showdown of sisters.

Mikhail Youzhny endured a mammoth five-setter against the cocaine-kisser, Richard Gasquet, eventually prevailing 6-7, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 in a gruelling first round tie.

I'm looking forward to the huge match between Elena Dementieva and Justine Henin which means that unfortunately, one of these two wonderful players will be going home all too early this year.

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