With the second round of action complete at the Australian Open, there was undoubtedly a lot for Noel and me to discuss in the latest edition of the On The Line podcast.
The final second round match finished just a few hours ago, capping off two days of tennis in which many of the sport’s big names impressed, but which saw several of them survive big tests and some even lose surprisingly early in the tournament.
Several upsets and scares
Though many people impressed in the second round of action at the first Grand Slam of 2018, many had their tournaments finished early following disappointing tournaments.
The biggest casualty of the round was Wimbledon champion and third seed Garbine Muguruza. The Spaniard was an injury doubt heading into the tournament, and on Thursday fell to Hsieh Su-Wei in straight sets, though she was not the only notable WTA star to crash out; 12th seed Julia Goerges, on a 15-match winning streak, fell to the ever-entertaining Alize Cornet, whilst arguably the most surprising result saw ninth seed Johanna Konta fall to lucky loser Bernarda Pera.
The biggest upset in the Men’s singles saw seventh seed David Goffin, who had been in good form, fall in four sets to Julien Benneteau, whilst former champion and ninth seed Stan Wawrinka crashed out rather tamely to Tennys Sandgren.
Other potential title contenders almost found themselves out of the tournament, though managed to somehow pull their way through. Grigor Dimitrov was forced into a fifth set by world number 186 Mackenzie McDonald, eventually prevailing 8-6 in the decider, whilst Caroline Wozniacki was 5-1 down in the decider against Jana Fett, saving two match points, and Dominic Thiem came from two sets down to beat Denis Kudla. The likes of Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko, and Caroline Garcia all prevailed in three sets, with Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, and Juan Martin del Potro also all dropping sets on their way through.
Many impress on their way through
Though some big names either fell or were severely tested, several title contenders also looked very impressive as they sailed through to the third round.
On the women’s side, world number one Simona Halep brushed off any fears of an ankle problem with a comfortable win over Eugenie Bouchard, whilst sixth seed Karolina Pliskova dropped just two games against Beatriz Haddad Maia. US Open runner-up Madison Keys is also playing well after a slump post-New York, whilst wins for both Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber set up an highly-anticipated third round meeting between the two.
On the men’s side, title favorites Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both looked comfortable, with neither having too much trouble against Leonardo Mayer or Jan-Lennard Struff respectively. Former US Open champion Marin Cilic also impressed in a straight-sets win over Joao Sousa, whilst Nick Kyrgios safely saw off Viktor Troicki to set up an enticing third round clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.