Serena and Venus open with a win
Serena Williams beginning her 20th campaign at Melbourne Park and Venus Williams beginning her 21st have both opened up with a win on the opening day of the 2021 Australian Open.
Serena faced Laura Siegemund in round one and didn’t take too long to begin her domination winning her 88th match at Melbourne Park 6-1 6-1 against the German. It was a shaky start but Serena who dropped serve immediately in the match but went onto win 10 games in a row and eventually broke at 5-1 to win in 53 minutes.
Venus had a trickier route to the second round especially in the first set. The 40 year old was down a break of serve as the opening set looked to near its conclusion but clawed it back and at 6-5 broke Kirsten Flipkens to win the first set. Venus certainly found her groove in the second set and looked to run away with it, a 5-1 lead looked on the cards but the Belgian saved three break points to stay close but still a break down and similar to Serena didn’t have to serve it out as she broken Flipkens just before the 90 minute mark to win 7-5 6-2.
Osaka & Swiatek sail through as Kerber falls
Two more Grand Slam champions orchestrated their way through to the second round of the Australian Open.
Former Australian Open champion and two time US Open champion Naomi Osaka continued her fine form with a 6-1 6-2 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Current Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek who is seeded 15th begin her campaign with a 6-1 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus.
One former semi-finalist in Melbourne and former major champion in search for her best tennis did fall. Angie Kerber was a surprise round one casualty losing to Bernarda Pera 0-6 4-6.
Gael Monfils exits early!
Quite a sad moment after his opening round loss to see Gael Monfils break down in his press conference. The 34 year old has struggled to find wins in some time now and hasn’t won for almost a year losing 6 on the bounce.
Gael lost to Ruusuvuori in five sets and said after the match in his press conference whilst clearly upset:
“I would like to get out of this nightmare but I can’t.”
He hasn’t won a match since the 27th of February 2020 when he defeated Gasquet in the semi-finals of Dubai and of course in the final had those match points against Novak Djokovic to end his beaten run against the world number one but squandered it.
I do hope for Gael he goes away and recharges ready for the next tournament and hopefully back to winning ways very soon!
Business as usual
Quite a few of the top seeded players had a day of their usual business in Melbourne. 8 time former champion Novak Djokovic dropped six games as he won his 15th match in a row at the Australian Open.
Dominic Thiem had a close opening set with Mikhail Kukushkin but came through comfortably as did Wawrinka and Dimitrov with the Bulgarian knocking out Marin Cilic.
Simona Halep also proved to be in good form to open her account following some injury concerns a few days ago. The 2018 runner-up dropped three games against wildcard Lizette Cabrera to seal her place into round two.
Bianca’s back with a bang!
I decided to wake up an hour earlier this morning to watch Bianca Andreescu’s return to tennis and despite a 5:00am alarm it was good to see the Canadian return to action the way she did.
As I said in my preview it was going to be a hard fought match against Mihaela Buzarnescu and it proved that. Bianca however raced ahead to take the first set 6-2 but that woke Mihaela up and she began to dig in and played a variety of high and low balls to edge ahead and take the second set.
Throughout the match I did think that Bianca was a bit harsh on herself, she was playing very well having not played for 16 months but wanted more and she delivered. Despite a smaller crowd than usual it was a fantastic atmosphere and fantastic match with Bianca winning 6-2 4-6 6-3.
The Shapovalov & Sinner Show
The match of the day without a doubt and such a shame for it to be played in round one with this one going to the wire and almost hitting 4 hours on the clock.
Throughout the match the level of tennis was exceptional from both guys and we saw the flair, anticipation and clean hitting from these two early on.
We saw the full extent of Sinners movement in the first set propelling him to a 6-3 lead but it was the spontaneous hitting of Denis Shapovalov which was beautiful to watch. He opens the court, plays into space and follows the rhythm of the rally to near perfection.
Denis did lead two sets to one but against Jannik Sinner who is only 19 you cannot rule him out. He has the attitude and consistency in his game of a seasoned professional, not a guy who’s career has barely begun but he is making big noise!
A two sets each and almost four hours on the clock the level continued to be outstanding as Denis secured a big big win with a forehand up the line to win 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4.