Home crowd favourite Samantha Stosur was sensationally knocked out of the Australian Open on day two following a straight sets loss to Sorana Cirstea.
The reigning US Open champion looked out of sorts throughout the match and made 33 unforced errors as she was outclassed by her Romanian opponent. The pressure of expectation has been Stosur’s downfall in the past inMelbourneand this year proved no exception.
The sixth seed became the highest profile casualty of the opening round while Vera Zvonareva also had a scare after being taken the distance by Alexandra Dulghera. The Russian has struggled to recapture the form that made her a perennial championship contender in the last four years. But with good movement around the court today there are still reasons for optimism for the seventh seed.
Serena Williams opened her campaign with a comfortable straight sets victory over Tamira Paszek. The American has struggled with injuries over the course of the last year but when she finds her form she is still the most formidable player in the world.
Svetlana Kuznetsova also moved eased through to the second round after winning the deciding set 6-0 in her opening match. The Russian’s compatriot, Maria Sharapova, had a very impressive 6-1, 6-0 victory against Gisela Dulko as the 2008 champion fired a warning shot to the rest of the ladies field about her fitness and mental strength ahead of the championships.
The favourite in the ladies draw, Petra Kvitova, also had a straight sets win and looked in superb form in only dropping two games against Vera Dushevina. The Wimdbledon looked in great form as she dominated proceedings despite dropping her opening service game.
In the men’s side of the draw championship favourite Novak Djokovic was at his majestic best in easily sweeping aside his opening round opponent, Paulo Lorenzi ofItaly. The Serbian won 17 consecutive games to clinch his second round berth.
Andy Murray, runner-up for the last two years, had dropped a set against Ryan Harrison but made it through to the second round. The Scot struggled initially as he adapted to the difficult conditions that saw the showcourts turned into furnaces by a hot wind constantly circling theMelbournePark. Ultimately however he had too much fire-power for his American opponent and ran out a comfortable winner having made to sweat in the opening exchanges.
Harrison gave a good account of himself and showed just why he is regarded as one of the best prospects to come out ofAmericain recent years.
The evening session saw one-time world number one, Lleyton Hewitt, progress to a second round matchup with Andy Roddick after a four set victory that ebbed and flowed between the Australian and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. Hewitt played great tennis in the opening two sets before his opponent suddenly moved into the ascendancy.
In the fourth set the German held a 5-1 lead and seemed certain to force a deciding set before he capitulated and Hewitt emerged victorious 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. His reward is a tie with Roddick. The 15th seed played well against Robin Haase and with the American serving well the result was never in doubt once he opened a lead in the opening set.