While the opening two days at the Australian Open 2014 brought forth record-equaling withdrawals and soaring heat waves, Day 3 was comparatively sedate without too many obstacles to waylay the proceedings. Here’s a recap of the most noteworthy action:
The Fine Line of Distinction: Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk
There are those tennis players who not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Then there are those who simply do the former but fail to accomplish the latter. And finally, there are those who accomplish neither. Ernests Gulbis started out somewhere in the first category, got himself scaled down to the second and now finds himself hovering on the horizon of the third. The 27th seed may be a lot of things but against Sam Querrey in the second round, he ended up being the biggest dud, crashing out in straight sets: 2-6, 3-6, 4-6.
Of seeding the front-lines and upsetting deviations
Where most of the seeded players advanced safely into the third-round, there were a few blips as well with a few seeded players bidding adieu quite unexpectedly. Czech Tomas Berdych achieved the distinction of being the first player to progress into the round of 32 defeating Frenchman Kenny de Schepper 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Top seed Novak Djokovic too had pretty smooth sailing, defeating Argentine Leonardo Mayer 0, 4 and 4 in the second match at the Rod Laver Arena. Ninth seed Richard Gasquet came through against Russian Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets as well. Third seed David Ferrer and eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka suffered from minor dips in their performances against Adrian Mannarino and Alejandro Falla respectively though both did well to finish strong in the end, wrapping up their matches in four sets each.
In the women’s section, Serena Williams made short work of her opponent, winning 6-1, 6-2 against Serbian Vesna Dolonc, while Australian Casey Dellacqua brutally upset 18th seeded Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-3, 6-0. 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki suffered a casualty at the hands of unseeded Romanian Monica Niculescu as she was rounded up 6-2, 2-6, 2-6 in her match. Dellacqua’s compatriot Sam Stosur, meanwhile, routed Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, making quick work of her night session match. Kvitova’s vanquisher, Thai player Luksika Kumkum, was defeated by German Mona Barthel in three sets, ending the youngster’s dream run quite abruptly.
Age no Bar: Timeless Classics
Li Na won her second round match against Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic who’s exactly half her age at 16. And then there was Patrick Rafter who made a comeback with a wild-card entry in the doubles alongside Lleyton Hewitt at the age of 41. For some players, it’s as if age is just a number and nothing more.