Australian Open: Day two review

The 2014 champion has been out with a knee injury since Wimbledon and it showed as he struggled to beat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Australian Open: Day two review

LONDON: Arab News takes a look at how all the other big names did on day one in Melbourne — who lived to fight another day and who has already been forced to pack their bags?

STANILAS WAWRINKA (9) STAYING: The 2014 champion has been out with a knee injury since Wimbledon and it showed as he struggled to beat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis. The Swiss prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 in the end but it is tough to see him mounting a title tilt on this evidence.

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO (12) STAYING: The highly fancied Argentine, who finds himself in Roger Federer’s half of the draw, had few problems in seeing off American Frances Tiafoe. The former US Open champion won 6-3, 6-4, 6-? to lay dawn a marker for the rest of the tournament.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV (4) STAYING: The German went through with a 6-1, 7-6, 7-5 win over Thomas Fabbiano. The 20-year-old is coming off five tournament wins last year and looking to improve on his best Grand Slam finish of the fourth round — do not be shocked if he goes deep in Melbourne.

JOHANNA KONTA (9) STAYING: Many see this as the Briton’s best chance of A Grand Slam breakthrough and she easily won her clash against Madison Brengle to forget her troubles with a hip injury. Konta, who reached the last eight a year ago, saw off the American 6-3, 6-1 in just 66 minutes.

KAROLINA PLISKOVA (6) STAYING: The Czech advanced to the second round with minimal fuss, beating Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3, 6-4. Pliskova, who held the top ranking in July of last year, is among six players who could return to No. 1 depending on what happens over the next two weeks.

SIMONA HALEP (1) STAYING: The Romanian overcame an injured left ankle to beat Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava 7-6, 6-1. She was down 5-2 in the first set and ended up showing all the grit and determination she will definitely need if she is to go all the way.

MILOS RAONIC (22) PACKING HIS BAGS: Last year’s Wimbledon finalist was given his marching orders at the first hurdle as the Canadian lost in four sets to Lukas Lacko. Raonic won the first set but Lacko made Raonic pay for too many unforced errors to take the win and shock both Raonic and the crowd.

PETRA KVITOVA (27) PACKING HER BAGS: Unable to play last year due to a knife attack the previous month, the Czech was doubtless just happy to be on court. The return was not a fairy tale one, however, as she lost 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic.


Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

Updated 32 min 3 sec ago
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Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

  • It was Osaka's first match since she won the Australian Open — her second consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • World No. 67 Mladenovic lost for words after surprise win.

DUBAI: Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open as the world number one went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.
Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.
The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.
“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world No. 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.
“Beating the number one is always special.”
The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.
Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.
She said earlier this week that she would not prioritize “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.
Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.
Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, saw off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elize Mertens.
“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.
“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”
A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.
“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.
“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.”