Australian Open Update - Day 1

January 13, 2014 11:30 AM
Alexandr Dolgopolov was the most popular pick in our Aussie Open Challenge

Querrey Moves On
American Sam Querrey headed into his first match at the Australian Open needing a spark.

A semifinalist in last year’s Winston-Salem Open, Querrey hasn’t made it past the third round of any tournament since his visit to the Triad in August – a slide that has seen him drop more than 20 spots in the rankings.

But the 6-6 Californian showed few signs of struggle in his Aussie Open opener Monday, using his big serve and punishing forehand to dispatch Colombian Santiago Giraldo in four sets. Querrey served 24 aces against Giraldo with a first serve that topped out at 132 mph, winning the first two sets with little trouble.

Giraldo found his game in the third set though, forcing longer rallies to swing momentum in his favor, taking it 6-3. The fourth set was a battle, but Querrey managed to hang on in a tiebreak to close out the 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) victory. He faces on 23rd-seeded Ernests Gulbis in the second found.

Haas Out with Shoulder Injury
After his career resurgence was the talk of the ATP World Tour in 2013, the new year hasn’t proved quite as kind to 35-year-old Tommy Haas.

The German retired with a shoulder injury in the second set of his opening round match Monday, one week after falling to American Jack Sock in his first match at Auckland, and is now on a four-match losing skid dating back to last year.

The first-round loss in Melbourne won’t hurt Haas’ No. 12 ranking too much – he also lost in the first round last year – but he will need to regroup before spring events like Miami and Indian Wells where he was a number of points to defend.

Good Day for American Women
Americans waved the flag proudly on the women’s side on the first day of the Australian Open with five of them winning their matches to advance to the second round.

Leading the way was consensus favorite and top seed Serena Williams, who quickly dispatched Aussie hopeful Ashleigh Barty in a night match on Rod Laver Arena.

Also moving on were 18-year old Madison Keys who survived a second set collapse to win 9-7 in the third and lucky loser Irina Falconi, a former Georgia Tech star, who made the most of her opportunity with a 6-3, 6-1 drubbing of Anabel Medina Garrigues.

The young American women fared better than their counterparts on the men’s side as Denis Kudla bowed out in straight sets to Florian Mayer, and former USC standout Steve Johnson, who remarkably has won nine sets in his last five majors without winning a single match, went out in five sets to Adrian Mannarino.

Intriguing Matches Ahead on Day 2
Rare for the first round of a Grand Slam, Tuesday at the Australian Open (Monday night in the United States), features a number of appetizing matchups.

Leading the way is perhaps the most anticipated first round match of the tournament as Aussie Bernard Tomic takes on top seed Rafael Nadal in a night match on Rod Laver Arena. Tomic comes into the tournament hot, reaching the final at Sydney last week, but the draw at his home Slam did him no favors, matching him up with the World No. 1 who has reached at least the semifinals in each of his last eight tournaments.

Another Aussie will provide some intrigue Tuesday as Lleyton Hewitt, coming off a win over Roger Federer in the Brisbane final, matches up with No. 24 seed Andreas Seppi – the No. 2 seed in last year’s Winston-Salem Open.

In other matches, young American Rhyne Williams, who won his way through qualifying, will try to upset red-hot Juan Martin Del Potro, and Ryan Harrison will face 2013 Winston-Salem Open finalist Gael Monfils.

Coverage starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, and make sure to take advantage of video feeds of some of the outer courts availlable on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app.

Aussie Open Challenge Update
The picks are locked for our Aussie Open Challenge with eight different players being tabbed as the 2013 Winston-Salem Open player most likely to go the furthest in the Australian Open draw.

Last year’s WSO semifinalist Alexadr Dolgopolov was the most popular choice, being picked by four entrants, while Gael Monfils and Sam Querrey received three picks apiece.

All eight players picked are still alive as Dolgopolov, Querrey, Tommy Robredo, Dmitry Tursunov and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez won their matches Monday and Monfils, Andreas Seppi and Fernando Verdasco will take the courts for the first time Tuesday.

One person who correctly picked the WSO player that goes the furthest in the draw will win a pair of Bolle sunglasses.

Aussie Open Challenge Standings

Player Times Picked by Entrants Current Round Next Opponent
Alexandr Dolgopolov 4 R64 Chardy
Sam Querrey 3 R64 Gulbis
Tommy Robredo 2 R64 Benneteau
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 1 R64 Roger-Vasselin
Dmitry Tursunov 1 R64 Istomin
Gael Monfils 3 R128 Harrison
Andreas Seppi 2 R128 Hewitt
Fernando Verdasco 1 R128 Zhang