Australian Open 2016: First round reaction and Second round preview

Okay, so Rafa’s exit to Verdasco aside, and perhaps Sam Stosur running into trouble against Mladenovic- I didn’t really predict any correct results in my ‘ones to watch’ from Round 1 here – but at least I highlighted the matches that provided early talking points.

That is, on court talking points – separate posts surrounding the revived match-fixing allegations will be provided in due course.

After admitting that Rafa and Sam’s exits were possible, Tsonga and Baghdatis would entertain, Serena would have too much for Giorgi and Lleyton Hewitt may just be able to postpone his goodbyes another day or two, there were some outcomes I missed.

From my own selections, I couldn’t see the brilliant Johanna Konta defeating Venus Williams in straight sets, and neither would I have guessed that Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Kevin Anderson, Andrea Petkovic or Sloane Stephens would too fall at the first hurdle.

Halep was the notable exception, but all of the frontrunners progressed with veritable ease as you would expect, but I fancy a few more shocks before the second week.

Round 2

After falling asleep last night – at the time of writing this, some players have obviously progressed already (including Federer, Nishikori, Cillic, Berdych, Serena, Bencic, Maria and Vinci but Almagro and the in-form Kuznetsova are out).

Here then are the remaining highlights in the second chspter of 2016s opening major.

WOMEN

Agnieska Radwanska vs Eugenie Bouchard
The stand-out contest of the 2nd round sees two household names clash at a perilously early stage. It also sees the first major test of my 2016 year predictions which saw Agnieska winning this tournament. Looking increasingly foolish.

MEN

Gael Monfils vs Nicolas Mahut
In this all-French affair, I expect Monfils to overpower his fellow countryman with relative ease, but it’d be worth a watch of the highlights if nothing more than the mixture of traditional flare mixed with modern-day power and athleticism.

Milos Raonic vs Tommy Robredo
A similar case to the above, Robredo now surely in one of his last appearances on tour, can still serve up a perfect storm that can cause anybody problems. Raonic is looking sharp so will relish this challenge.

Radek Stepanek vs Stan Wawrinka
Like Robredo, Stepanek seems immune to the ageing process and will forever be a tricky opponent that no established champ revels to face. Throughout all of his recent immense achievements, Stan remains unpredictable.

David Ferrer vs Lleyton Hewitt
Somebody bring the popcorn! If I’d have planned my work holiday better I’d be sitting enjoying this and other matches with a huge grin – as with previous years. An old-school battle we should cherish and a chance to say goodbye to one of the greats of the game.

(Picture courtesy of http://www.supersport.com)

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