Australian Open Kicks Off

Despite the issues tournament organisers faced over player safety during qualifying, the Australian Open has started this week, in spite of fears the tournament could be affected by the poor air quality.

Normally, stormy and rainy weather is a tennis fan’s worst nightmare, but this time around it bought relief, as it helped to alleviate the impact of the bush fires that have affected large parts of Australia. This did however mean that not all matches were completed on day one of the Australian Open.

The most notable results were comfortable victories for Serena Williams and Roger Federer, who both won in straight sets. Defending champion and tournament favourite Novak Djokovic looked slightly shakier in his 7-6 6-2 2-6 6-1 win over powerful German Jan-Lennard Struff, who put up an excellent fight against the top seed, but just fell short of the level required to produce an upset.

Dan Evans kicked off his campaign with a spirited comeback win against underdog Mackenzie McDonald, who spent much of last year recovering from injuries. McDonald won the first 2 sets comfortably against an out of sorts Evans, but could only muster 6 games thereafter, with the Briton coming through 3-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-1 to move into the second round. Evans, after an impressive showing at the ATP Cup, comes into the tournament as the 30th seed and British Number One. Kyle Edmund did begin his match against Dusan Lajovic, but his march to victory as halted at 5-2 in the first set because of rain.

In other news, the story of Coco Gauff has continued, with the 15-year-old reproducing the upset she created at Wimbledon by beating Venus Williams 7-6 6-3. 13th seed Denis Shapovalov is out of the men’s draw after a surprise loss to Marton Fucsovics. Shapovalov had played well at the ATP Cup, but produced a much poorer level of tennis in a tame 4 set defeat.

Written by Emre Saridogan