Australian Open Day Two: Gasquet gutted by magical Mikhail as Soderling slips out

It was a quieter second day at Melbourne Park as order resumed and the schedule began to take shape as the warm weather returned. True it has yet to reach the 35+ of recent years – that is forecast for Thursday –but it did allow for matches on the outside courts to continue into the night. It was here that the first classic match of the 2010 Open was played.

Match of the Day: Youzhny bt Gasquet 6-7, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4Richard Gasquet, still on his way back from the cocaine accusations and suspension last year looked to have booked hi place in the second round with a commanding and at times magical display against Mikhail Youzhny. Despite going two sets up, a break up in the fifth and on many occasions being just two points away from victory, Gasquet was vanquished by the valiant Russian in a match lasting just shy of five hours. With Mexican waves between changeovers from the passionate fans, delayed and in some cases disallowed injury time outs and both men playing through leg cramps the match had it all. Gasquet’s flair was in abundance but so too was some conservative nervy play, and the iron will of his opponent, one of the last great practitioners of the serve and volley game.

MenElsewhere Roger Federer survived a little early rust against a quality opponent before advancing past Igor Andreev 4-6, 6-2, 7-6, 6-0 and Fernando Verdasco last years semi finalist survived a similar challenge from Aussie Carston Ball also going through in 4. There were confident and altogether comfortable first round wins from Jo Wilfred Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, Gael Monfils, and many peoples’ dark horse for the title Nikokay Davydenko. Local hero Lleyton Hewitt cruised through and James Blake set up a mouthwatering second round encounter with Jaun Martin Del Potro. But it was a different story for last years’ French Open semi finalist and one of 2009’s form players Robin Soderling who fell to unseeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers after, like Gasquet going ahead two sets to love before losing in five 5-7, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

WomenIn what was overall a bad day for the male seed, the women fared much better with few shocks. Francesca Schiavone survived a topsy turvy game with French starlet Alize Cornet finally coming through 0-6, 7-5, 6-0. Elsewhere things were more comfortable as Serena Williams began her defence of the title with a comfortable win over the younger and more fiery of the Radwanska’s; Ursula 6-1, 6-2. There were good wins for Ana Ivanovic, Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic Venus Williams (over a tough Lucie Safarova) and local favourites Samantha Stosur and Casey Dellacqua. Katie O Brien completed a fine first round for Britain’s ladies after defeating Austria’s Patricia Mayr 6-3, 6-3. She will face Jankovic next providing a tough test and invaluable experience.

Seeds and noteworthy players to have fallen today:

Men
Robin Soderling
Tommy Robredo
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Sam Querrey
Jeremy Chardy
Jurgen Melzer
Richard Gasquet
Fabrice Santoro

Women
Virginie Razzano
Dominika Cibulkova
Annabel Medina Garrigues
Alicia Molik
Alize Cornet
Melanie Oudin

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