Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 AUS OPEN Week 1: Del Potro, Kerber Lose

The 2013 Australian Open is starting to heat up as the number of players left in the draw decreases. Two of the biggest scalps to crash out are #6 seed Juan Martin del Potro and #5 seed Angelique Kerber. del Potro is widely considered the player outside of the World Top 5 that none of the Big 4 would like to see across the net, but after losing the first two sets against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy del Potro was able to come back to force a fifth set. However, del Potro had never won a match from 2-sets down and he eventually lost to Chardy 6-3 in the 5th.

Kerber fell to last year's gianttkiller Ekaterina Makarova 7-5 6-4, who reached her 2nd consecutive Australian Open quarterfinal. Last year, Makarova beat an injured Serena Williams and followed it up with a loss to eventual finalist Sharapova. By beating Kerber, Makarova will face Sharapova again in the quarterfinal, whom she has never beaten in 4 meetings.

Other interesting results included Victoria Azarenka's tough win against the hard-hitting American youngster Jamie Hampton who outplayed the #1 player in the world for a set and a half before injuring her back. Two Frenchman Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon battled for nearly 5 hours and five sets before the higher ranked Simon won 8-6 against his countryman and friend. On Day 7, another blockbuster French match-up between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet should be more exciting than the Monfils-Simon match where both players were content to wait for the opponent to miss (resulting in a 71-stroke rally).

The most hyped match of the tournament was the 3rd round showdown between local hero Bernard Tomic who just like last year met Roger Federer in the same point of the tournament. Despite making important improvements in his game and winning his first tournament just a few weeks ago, the result was the same, with Federer schooling the youngster on showing respect for his elders (and betters) by winning in straight sets. In a battle of youngsters, Sloane Stephens dismissed Kvitova-killer Laura Robson in straight sets.

Other interesting matches on Day 7 include Ana Ivanovic versus Agnieska Radwanska.

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