The first Grand Slam of the year has begun in Melbourne. Rain delays and postponements have already brought chaos to the schedule.
Of the Men’s matches completed, only one seeded player was upset, no. 13 Radek Stepanek lost in 5 sets to Ivo Karlovic. None of the other top seeds went to 5 sets as no.2 Rafael Nadal, no. 5 Andy Murray, and no. 7 Andy Roddick all won in straight sets. Only no. 4, defending US Open champ, Juan Martin Del Potro showed some struggle, taking 4 sets to defeat Michael Russell of the USA.
The Women’s events went much as expected, with only one seeded player to lose. That player, no. 14, just happens to be one of the biggest draws in tennis, Maria Sharapova. The winner of the 2008 Australian Open, Sharapova, had trouble from the beginning. Losing the 1st set in a tiebreak to Maria Kirilenko, Sharapova fought back to win the 2nd, before finally succumbing in the 3rd. Kirilenko played a safe, consistent game, only making 41 unforced errors compared to Sharapova’s 77.
Of the women in the top 10, no. 2 Dinara Safina and no. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova easily won their opening matches. No. 5 Elena Dementieva, fresh off her win at Sydney, only gave up 3 games in her first round victory.
Returning to the tour was Justine Henin, who retired in 2008 while ranked #1 in the world. Henin entered the Australian Open as a wildcard and easily showed she still has the skills to get back on top.
Day 2 will be full of action, as incomplete games will have to be worked into the schedule.