Australian Open Blog: First Round

The biggest story of the early rounds of the 2012 U.S. Open took place off the court as Andy Roddick, the 2003 Open Champion, announced his impending retirement at a press conference days before his second round dismantling of Bernard Tomic.

Roddick rode the energy of the Flushing Meadows crowd all the way to the 4th round – his best result at a major in years – before ultimately bowing out to Juan Martin Del Potro and waving goodbye for the final time.

Life goes on without Roddick as January begins a new year and a new tennis season.

Many questions remain as to who will take Roddick’s place as the face of American tennis, but for the big four – Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and a currently sidelined Rafael Nadal – 2013 will continue to be more of the same.

“I haven’t watched tennis in awhile,” tweeted Roddick, as the Australian Open began late Sunday night.

“… Djokovic is still really good.”

The Winners:

Djokovic starts the New Year ranked as the ATP’s top ranked player and looks to defend his 2012 Australian Open title.  He cruised in his first round matchup against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-2, 6-4, 7-5. He’ll face one of America’s most promising young tennis players, Ryan Harrison, 20, in the second round (see below).

An upset in seeding only, Gael Monfils, the strong, lanky Frenchman, took out 18 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Novak Djokovic will face American, Ryan Harrison, in the second round. (Reuters)

Novak Djokovic will face American, Ryan Harrison, in the second round. (Reuters)

U.S. Open and Olympic Champion Andy Murray has a favorable section of the draw, with a clear path to the semi-finals and a possible Wimbledon/Olympic Final re-matchup with Roger Federer. Both men won in straight sets.

The Losers:

To the dismay of the home crowd, Australian fan-favorite Lleyton Hewitt lost a hard fought match to eight seed Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain upset  seven seed Sara Errani,6-4, 6-4.

Maria Sharapova put up a double-bagel on her fellow Russian Olga Puchkova.

Eye on the Americans: 

Harrison once again makes it to the second round of a major. At 20 years old, it’s not a make or break season, but ideally he needs to make a deep run in 2013 if he wants to be known as something other than the kid who loses his cool far too often.

Unless both players retire in the same match (knock on wood), there will be an American in the third round. Brian Baker takes on the highest seeded American (20) Sam Querrey. Look for a potential upset in the third round for the Americans if the winner faces a beatable 15 seed in Stanislas Wawrinka.

Dress Code:

Someone get Serena Williams different shoes. The 2012 U.S. Open, Wimbledon and Olympic gold champion rolled her ankle in her 6-0, 6-0, defeat of Edina Gallovits-Hall. Lace ’em up tighter, Serena.

Shot of the Day:

Lleyton Hewitt, 32, is getting old, but the guy can still move. 

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