Tennis, like all sports, can bring out so many emotions in people – joy, heartbreak, boredom, sadness, laughter, pain. The players and fans watching the second day of action down in Melbourne yesterday (and well into this morning) probably experienced at least of two of those while trying to keep track of all the early round action. While many of the matches for the top seeds went by in the blink of any eye, it was a late night fight that lived up to its billing and then some.
With Rafael Nadal, Vera Zvonareva, Sam Stosur, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling getting through their first round matches in enough time to schedule a massage or two if needed, at least those who stuck around Rod Laver Arena were treated a stirring comeback by Aussie veteran Alicia Molik after being 3-5 down in the final set to win over Italy’s Roberta Vinci 1-6, 6-3, 8-6. Molik, who many suspect might retire this year, at least was able to have one more great moment on her Slam’s center court which she didn’t expect since her match was first scheduled on Margaret Court Arena but then moved up to RLA after all the previous matches finished sooner than expected.
Sooner than expected could describe the way two notable names on the women’s side left the AO in the first round, but in different ways. Though Kim Clijsters was tipped to win over former No. 1 Dinara Safina, that the actual match only took 44 minutes in a 6-0, 6-0 shellacking by Clijsters over Safina had many on hand expressing how sad it was to see a former AO finalist like Safina lose in such a way. Meanwhile, Ana Ivanovic, a darkhorse pick by some to win the AO, fought hard but came up just a bit short over Ekaterina Makarova who won 3-6, 6-4, 10-8.
While Juan Martin Del Potro’s three set win over Dudi Sela earned cheers of delight from those hoping the big man from Argentina could once again find his way back into the mix for a Slam title soon, it was another Argentine, David Nalbandian who stole the show tonight. Nalbandian’s hard earned 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1), 9-7 victory over Lleyton Hewitt with a well-placed lob that ended the almost five hour “death” match felt like a final for everyone watching, but could end up being a literally painful memory for Nalbandian who now must find a way to recuperate quickly before taking on young Ricardas Berankis in the next round.
But with all the emotions swirling on the blue courts of Melbourne today, the one that will likely end up being remembered by many is that of laughter thanks in part to the bizarre moment during another tight three set match today between veteran Kimiko Date Krumm and No. 12 seed Agnieszka Radawanksa. Radwanska who finally won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, during the tail end of the third set banged her racquet on the ground several times in frustration during a losing point. All that frustration finally took its toll when her racquet shattered during a return. The expression on Radwanksa’s face was priceless and the subsequent video will likely make her a You Tube sensation.
And that was Day 2 at the Australian Open.