Editor’s Note: During this year’s Australian Open, tennis legend Rembert Browne will report back after each round with the things you missed while you were sleeping, at work, or attempting to raise a family.
Rembert’s Note: The only thing more fun than playing tennis in a yellow Diadora short-set is standing on your couch in a yellow Diadora short-set while watching tennis on your laptop in 1080p.
Second Round Notes
1. The second round was the stage for the 14th meeting between once-important rivals Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt. Both men, Grand Slam winners and top players in the pre-Federer/Nadal era, post-Sampras/Agassi years (2001-03: tennis’ “Houston Rockets” years), were looking to channel their younger forms to make this a competitive match. And for the first time in a long time, these two men were taking part in the match everyone was excited to see. Unfortunately (and slightly predictably), it was an anticlimactic letdown, with Roddick retiring before the start of the fourth set. Classic Roddick. At least he’s consistent.
2. 12-seed Serena Williams wins her 500th professional match, defeating Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 6-0, 6-4; is furious.
3. Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis loses in four sets to 21-seed Stanislas Wawrinka. In other news, Marcos Baghdatis is cray.
4. 16-seed experienced marathon-matcher John Isner wins a five-set barn burner against Argentinian David Nalbandian. With this win, Isner became the only American male to make it past the second round. Wow. Maybe we’re not so bad at soccer after all.
5. Vania King passes one test (upsets 15-seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets), then immediately fails the next one (is asked to do something by Pam Shriver, and then actually does it).
6. Kim Clijsters and her Kim Clijsters-sized thighs advance comically easy, 6-0, 6-1.
7. Roger Federer advanced to the third round without even having to play. His opponent, Andreas Beck, “claimed” he “had” a “bad back,” but as a firm believer that Roger is either Banksy or a Swiss Jack Bauer, I will believe until proven otherwise that this mysterious withdrawal has something to do with a cover-up, a national conspiracy, or a Ponzi scheme involving Gillette and/or Rolex.
8. Sorana Cirstea, the first-round upsetter of 6-seed Sam Stosur, advanced to the third round with a come-from-behind win over Poland’s Urszula Radwanska. Next up: Italy’s Sara Errani, whom she will also defeat. I’m completely sold on her making it to at least the quarterfinals. She’s good.
9. The young Aussie Bernard Tomic has the hometown crowd behind him, and is playing out of his mind, as evidenced by a four-set victory over American Sam Querrey.
10. Ana Ivanovic advanced to the third round 6-2, 6-3, but more importantly, is back to playing at a level where perhaps only Serena, Caroline Wozniacki, or Clijsters can actually knock her out of this tournament. So pumped she’s playing so well. HURRICANE ANA IS BACK.
Upset Predictions for Round 3
- Christina McHale over Jelena Jankovic (13)
- Maria Kirilenko (27) over Petra Kvitova (2)
- Lleyton Hewitt over Milos Raonic (23)
- Bernard Tomic over Alexandr Dolgopolov (13)
All the best until the conclusion of Round 3. Until then, if someone could develop a program that spell-checks the names of tennis players, that would be fantastic. I’d love to stop guessing.