Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Kerber among early Sydney carnage

In the week before the first Grand Slam tournament of 2017, only one top ten male player is contesting either of the two ATP tour events being held.
Dominic Thiem is the number one seed in Sydney, and the eighth ranked Austrian has no fellow representatives from the world's top twenty competing with him.

Auckland has two - American John Isner (19) and just crowned Chennai champion Roberto Bautista Agut (14).
Both had first round byes and will meet Tunisian veteran Malek Jaziri and Czech Jiri Vesely in respective second round matches.

Unfortunately Hobart had several withdrawals, including its defending champion, Alize Cornet.  In addition second seed, Anastasija Sevastova and fifth seed Misaki Doi left courtesy of first round losses.  Sevastova out in a tough three setter to Shelby Rogers, and Doi to 208th ranked Australian teenager Lizette Cabrera, also in three.

The tournament still has its top seed, Kiki Bertens and third seed Monica Niculescu alive in the draw, the latter through to the quarters after her victory today over Kirsten Flipkens, helped in part with an incredible first serve percentage of 90.

Despite the late loss of Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina, a number of the best women players have committed themselves to the Sydney event, with five of the world's top ten featuring, and eight of the top twenty.
At least they appeared at the start.
After two rounds, we had said farewell to Angie Kerber (seeded 1), Dominika Cibulkova (3), Sveta Kuznetsova (5), Elena Vesnina (8) and Roberta Vinci (9).

Kerber was trounced by young Russian sensation Daria Kasatkina in straight sets, the first in a tie break, the second 6-2, the German serve broken three times.
Cibulkova became the latest part of the Genie Bouchard revival project, the Canadian prevailing in two sets, the second 6-3. Bouchard was required to serve 43 times in just 5 service games in the second set.  Good practice and the result was worth the trouble.

Anastasija Pavlyuchenkova knocked Kuznetsova out of Sydney, the second Grand Slam champion in two rounds, following her dismissal of Samantha Stosur in the opening match, continuing the Australians poor record at home.
Vinci fell to Barbora Strycova, which is nothing to be ashamed of these days, and Vesnina was forced to retire after trailing 6-2 4-0 to Coco Vandeweghe in the first round.

Second seed Aga Radwanska, sixth seed Johanna Konta and tenth seed Caroline Wozniacki head the list of eight quarter finalists, with the pick of the matches to come being the Wozniacki v Strycova battle.

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