© Ella Ling

Bernard Tomic

Notes from Melbourne: day one


Summarising the events on the court and off from the first day of the Australian Open 2012

Match of the day
Bernard Tomic vs Fernando Verdasco
The biggest billing of the day was afforded to this blockbuster between the No.22 seed and Aussie No.1. And despite a slow start, it didn’t disappoint, the Australian youngster keeping up his record of never having lost in the first round at Melbourne Park. Initially, it was all Verdasco, the Spaniard stepping up and into every groundstroke, Tomic too lackadaisical. But the 19-year-old crafted his way back as Verdasco wilted in the heat, coming back from two sets to love down to force a deciding fifth set.

The youngster had two points to break Verdasco at 4-4, but the Spaniard made him wait a little longer, pulling out two phenomenal aces to survive. He could not halt the Tomic charge though, the young Aussie winning 4-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.

The upset
Wild card Casey Dellacqua beat Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 6-2, yielding raucous scenes on Margaret Court Arena. This time last year, the likeable Australian was commentating rather than playing because of injury. Jurgen Melzer was dumped out by Ivo Karlovic in straight sets, while Flavia Pennetta went home to Nina Bratchikova in three. American youngster Christina McHale saw off Lucie Safarova while Yanina Wickmayer was unseated by Galina Voskoboeva. Ivan Ljubicic also lost in five sets to qualifier Lukas Lacko, as did Juan Monaco to Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Stat of the day

Sets won by the five British players competing today, in what was a bit of a dampener after six players had made it into the main draw for the first time since 1992. Heather Watson went down 6-1, 6-0 to Victoria Azarenka, James Ward 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to Blaz Kavcic, Elena Baltacha 6-2, 6-4 to Stephanie Foretz Gacon, Laura Robson 6-2, 6-0 to Jelena Jankovic, and Anne Keothavong retired trailing Mona Barthel 6-0. Still, better having five players to lose on day one rather than none at all.

Victoria Azarenka, Eleni Daniilidou, Li Na, Mardy Fish, Feliciano Lopez, Kevin Anderson, Tobias Kamke, Julia Goerges, Lesia Tsurenko, Stanislas Wawrinka, Olga Govortsova, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Sam Querrey, Francesca Schivaone, Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters, Tsvetana Pironkova, Anna Tatishvili, Olivia Rogowska, John Isner, Jelena Jankovic, Alberta Brianti, Marcos Baghdatis, Olivier Rochus, Shuai Peng, Roger Federer all made it through in straight sets.

Juan Martin Del Potro needed four sets to come through against Adrian Mannarino, Agnieszka Radwanska was almost but not quite upturned by Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Thirteenth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov held off a five-set challenge from Australian wild card Greg Jones, coming back from two sets to love down, while Donald Young recovered from dropping a two-set lead to finally defeat German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in five.

Strangest thing
Rafael Nadal’s knee injury, apparently sustained while sitting in a chair. “Yesterday I stood up, felt crack in knee, stood up felt unbelievable pain, couldn’t move my knee. Wasn’t sure I would play.”

Remember him?
Nikolay Davydenko. The former top-tenner went down 6-1 in the fifth to Italian Flavio Cipolla. It might be one of the last times we see the enigmatic Russian at a grand slam. Maybe? There was better news though for fellow veteran Tommy Haas, who won his first-round match in four sets against American Denis Kudla.

The outfit
Fernando Verdasco. Bright red and yellow, so bright that the heat was shimmering off him, descriptions of the Spaniard’s adidas combination ranged from a Zoom lollipop to chicken-flavoured twisties.

Player I’ve never heard of
Paula Ormaechea, from Argentina. She beat Simona Halep to make it into the second round.

Stopwatch on…
Sergiy Stakohvsky v Ilya Marchenko
Mr Older Ukraine v Mr Younger Ukraine went the distance, Stakhovsky finally knocking out his protégé, 6-3, 6-7(9), 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in four hours and 26 minutes.

Press room craze
American football. All anyone can talk about is the NFL play-offs. And Tim Tebow. Ice lollies were a close second.

Not a good day to be…a breakdancing penguin. It was hot enough out there without being in a great big black and white suit.

Quotes of the day
“I’m having fun. Well, today wasn’t fun. It was torture. I really don’t know how I won.”
Bernard Tomic reveals what it’s like being the Australian number one.

“It’s not a protest. It’s a hair band.”
Laura Robson on her rainbow hair tie, which she wore for her match on the Margaret Court Arena after Court’s remarks about gay marriage.

Ongoing controversy
Why Roger Federer doesn’t want to push for changes to the Tour. “I don’t know why Roger is not supporting the players,” said Nikolay Davydenko, joining the fray.

Tweet of the day
“If anyone else asks me if I’m wearing a red t-shirt to match my nose, I’ll bop them. Beware.”
Sunburn is no laughing matter for Judy Murray (@judmoo)

Come back tomorrow for…
Novak Djokovic v Paolo Lorenzi, second day match on Rod Laver Arena

Lleyton Hewitt v Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, first night match on Rod Laver Arena

Tamira Paszek v Serena Williams, second night match on Rod Laver Arena

Gisela Dulko v Maria Sharapova, second day match on Hisense Arena

Andy Murray v Ryan Harrison, second day match on Hisense Arena