In what has been a woeful year for the Australian contingent, Bernard Tomic has been a beacon of hope. That didn’t seem possible a few months ago as the youngster closed out the 2012 season with a flurry of poor results. But after a win in Sydney last week, Tomic rolled through his first round and Thursday found another gear, registering a 6-7(4) 7-5 7-6 (4) 7-6(8) win over a game Daniel Brands. Next up? Roger Federer in the third round. Watch Tomic’s impeccable shot of the day here.
Call it an upset? Fans were anything but that as Sam Stosur returned to the doubles court, pairing with Julia Goerges to win their opener over seeds Daniela Hantuchova and Anabel Medina Garrigues. Sure, Hantuchova/Medina Garrigues are only the 16th seeds, but Stosur hasn’t played doubles in Melbourne in four years. Friday she takes to the mixed doubles court with fellow Aussie Luke Saville.
In one of the most grueling matches of the day, Slovenian Blaz Kavcic needed nearly five hours to down local hope James Duckworth, 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-7(3) 10-8. Duckworth was near cramping towards the end of the fifth set, sharing the trainer on court with Kavcic during changeovers as they both had their legs rubbed down. “It's something that us tennis players have to deal with from time to time,” Duckworth said of the disappointment. “I was pretty shattered after.”
If it was disappointment for Duckworth it was outright elation for 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm, who won through to the third round of the Australian Open for the first time since 1995, when she was 24. Date-Krumm downed former top 20 player Shahar Peer 6-2 7-5. In the third round the Japanese veteran will take on Bojana Jovanovksi, who was just three years old when Kimiko made the semifinals in Melbourne in 1995.
A big serve from Serena Williams? We wouldn’t expect anything less. But Serena wasn’t expecting quite as much when she delivered a 207 km bomb to seal her 6-2, 6-0 win over Garbine Muguruza. “I was not expecting 207, I was aiming for 200.” She was also aiming for the line – which she hit to advance to round three to face Ayumi Morita.
The stat 2
A quick start? You wanted one Thursday. Players (and doubles teams) that won the first set in the blistering heat were an impressive 48-12 in 60 total matches. Let’s cue the comeback wins for Friday.
Did that just happen?
Really, did it? The media centre – and all of Hisense Arena – was moaning and groaning at the sight of Gael Monfils hitting four (FOUR!) straight double faults on match point up in his match against Yen-Hsun Lu. Serving at 7-6 in the final set, the eccentric Frenchman four times went up an ad to seal the deal. But he double faulted four times to let his opponent stay in the match. Monfils closed the 7-6(5) 4-6 0-6 6-1 8-6 win with none other than a service winner.
View from the outer
It wasn’t just the players who were trying to stay cool Thursday. Fans, tournament staff and probably even some people watching on TV needed extra sunscreen, a litre of water and personal air conditioner systems to stave off the heat, which stayed around the 35 degree mark for much of the day.
At Rod Laver Arena all day Friday. Whether it’s a day session or night, the lineup on Day 5 is hard to beat.American up-and-comer Madison Keys takes on 2012 upstart Angelique Kerber in the first match of the day followed by 2011 finalist Li Na facing Sorana Cirstea, who stunned Sam Stosur here a year ago. Novak Djokovic closes the day against veteran Radek Stepanek. At night it’s even a better lineup: Venus Williamsbattles Maria Sharapova in what promises to be a diva epic before David Ferrer runs into the electric Marcos Baghdatis.
Tomorrow’s headline: Bernard’s Big Battle
The lone Australian playing gets arguably the best man to ever hit a tennis ball in his third-round encounter Saturday. All set for a Bernie-Roger showdown?