NINE days into the year’s first Grand Slam and fans to Melbourne Park have already been treated to some brilliant tennis. From a Canadian Teenager to a Swiss legend, Tim Morgan brings you up to speed at how the Australian Open has gone so far.
It was less than a day before we saw the first seed fall, when number six seed Petra Kvitova fell to Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum who is number 88 in the world.
From then on the seeds continued to tumble in the woman’s draw when number 14 Ana Ivanovic knocked out Serena Williams in the fourth round before Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard sent Ivanovic packing in the quarters.
Russian Maria Sharapova also fell victim to a less-fancied opponent when number 20 Dominika Cibulkova took the number three seed out on Monday.
On the men’s side it is always big news when one of the big four players fall. It took five sets but eventually number eight Stanislas Wawrinka toppled Novak Djokovic in what was the tournaments biggest result to date.
Also shockingly number five Juan Martin Del Potro couldn’t survive the second round when he was defeated in five by unseeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.
The Big News
Bernard Tomic: There is very little Australian Bernard Tomic does that pleases the Australian crowd. Retiring hurt before the end of his first set against Rafael Nadal has only added to the Australian public’s dissatisfaction with the young talent. Tomic still has plenty of time to turn things around but questions around his injury and strength of character were major talking points early on this Australian Open.
The Genie Army: As Canadian Eugenie Bouchard’s star continues to rise, so too does the coverage of her support group the Genie Army. The group of Australians have adopted Eugenie as their own and they will again be center stage at her upcoming semi-final.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis: If you caught any of the coverage from the first week you could be forgiven for thinking the Aussie duo made the Australian Open final given the hype around their second round performances. With no Hewitt or Tomic the duo – titled Special K – were the headline acts before they both lost their second round matches.
The weather: As players sweltered through four straight days of more than 40 degrees – Victoria’s hottest ever four-day period – the impact of the baking sun on player’s performance became an important topic.
The Record Setter
It’s fair to assume 33 year old journeyman Stephane Robert had few fans when he arrived in Melbourne a few weeks ago, but fast forward a week and a half and Robert leaves Australia with a set off Andy Murray and the first “lucky loser,” to make the fourth round. Robert who failed to qualify for the Australian Open only gained entry after an injury forced a qualifier to withdraw.
What do we expect now?
On the men’s side only one of Murray, Federer or Nadal can make the final, leaving the door wide open for Wawrinka and Thomas Berdych to claim their first Grand Slam.
As for the woman’s draw, the first nine days have split the competition open where any of the remaining six could win.
It’s unpredictable enough to ensure everyone is glued to their seat until the competition concludes on Australia Day.
Who are you supporting in this year’s Australian Open? Let us know in the comments box below!