Despite precious little shock results and with all main contenders safely through to round 2, it has been a drama-drenched opening two days in Melbourne.
As the world continues to confidently (but I fear prematurely) call time on his career, Andy Murray ensured he would exit in trademark battling fashion. DAY 1 saw the former five-time finalist in Australia show his quality by fully testing in-form 22nd seed Roberto Bautista-Agut in over four hours of raw emotion and high quality. The Scot had no right to take even a set from his opponent given their respective conditions, but then this is one of the greatest players of the game, so we shouldn’t have been surprised.
Instead the shocks and eyebrow-raisers occured subtly elsewhere: Isner and Ostapenko’s exits, easy wins for Sharapova and Wozniacki and a fairly routine win for Fernando Verdasco, usually the marathon man of Melbourne every year.
Kyle Edmund‘s early exit was I’m afraid no real surprise at all.
Drama continued on DAY 2 as we almost lost Halep, Thiem, Venus and Nishikori and actually did lose several others. Kyrgios (Raonic), Stosur (Yastremska) and poor Vika Azarenka (Siegmund) all bowed out too soon. As did Jack Sock and Daria Kasatkina.
As well as the title contenders, there were good wins for Muguruza, Goffin and most surprisingly of all Jo Konta! Comeback victories too for Tsonga and Bouchard, good to see.
Stan Wawrinka is through also after initially succombing to the skills of the mercurial, mesmerising but ultimately wasted talent of Ernests Gulbis who retired at a set apiece.
Round 2 matchups – what to look out for
Cornet Vs Venus
Bouchard Vs Serena
Konta Vs Muguruza
Stephens Vs Babos
Djokovic Vs Tsonga
Karlovic Vs Nishikori
Zverev Vs Chardy
Wawrinka Vs Raonic
Tiafoe Vs Anderson
Image courtesy of ausopen.com