The 2018 Australian Open edition is just four days old but already we’ve seen more seeds ousted early than in recent memory. If the first round saw the likes of Bautista Agut(20), Isner(16), Anderson(11), Pouille(18), Kohlschreiber(27), Sock(8) and Raonic(22) all fall at the first hurdle, round two would even lose more prolific names.
And as the second round has now finished all their matches we can take stock and make an overall assessment on which players we have lost. If we go by the biggest names then the no. 9 seed Stan Wawrinka, a former champion no less, losing to little known 86th ranked Tennys Sandgren in straights is a most eye-catching result.
But only to the untrained eye. Wawrinka has just finished a rigit rehabilitation program after undergoing knee surgery and his form and fitness were always in doubt. His showing against the American Sandgren saw Wawrinka really struggling with his movement. Out goes the 2014 champion.
‘Stanimal’ himself putting it in his own words:
“Never easy to feel that way on the court. But I need to be still positive. I think the last 12 days was more than what I could have dream coming here. I really came without thinking I will be able to play the first match. That’s a big step for me.”
Regarding ranking and form the loss of 7th seed Goffin in the draw must have been the least expected of all second round upsets. Getting beat in five tough sets in the sweltering heat to veteran Julien Benneteau from France yields no shame, but go and tell David Goffin that. He enjoyed his highest ranking and pundits put him on the couch of possible outsiders to reach the final. It was not to be.
Sam Querrey, the no. 13 seed, is another American ejected early from this year’s Australian Open. Hungarian Marton Fucsovics withstood Querrey’s serve bombs for four sets to come out victorious.
To lesser extent, but certainly worth mentioning, the no. 31 seed Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay lost to Ryan Harrison comprehensively in straights sets. Not a shocker really as the difference in rankings is merely 15 places and the American had an impeccable run to the finals of Brisbane earlier this month, where he lost to Aussie hopeful and no. 17 seed Nick Kyrgios.
To be fair, it could have been a lot worse for the men’s elite as many have survived scares and it remains to be seen if certain scares won’t be telling later on when we go deep in the second week. World no. 3 Grigor Dimitrov scraped out the win against McDonald 8-6 in the fifth, world no. 5 Dominic Thiem came roaring back from two sets down to overcome Denis Kudla, 15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fended off the challenge of future star Denis Shapovalov also in a decider, and 23rd seed Gilles Muller pulled the same stunt against Malek Jaziri.
If this type of blockbuster tennis is an omen of things to come then we’re in for a treat as the tournament progresses. Get ready for a whole lot of popcorn tennis with some captivating and memorable surprises at the horizon.
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