HomeAustraliaAussie dominate as another wilcard advances

Aussie dominate as another wilcard advances

Djokivc was moved to tears when interviewing Barty

Another Sydney wildcard is moving into the second round at this year’s Australian Open.

One day after Aleks Vukic stunned 30th seed Lloyd Harris, countryman Chris O’Connell eliminated French left-hander Hugo Gaston 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 4-6 6-1 in an impressive display.

It’s the second-straight year that O’Connell’s won a match at his home grand slam, after upsetting top-40 German Jan-Lennard Struff in 2021.

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This time the 27-year-old, who followed Vukic, Ash Barty, John Millman and Sam Stosur into round two, overcame the disappointment of losing the third set after being a break up.

Gaston contributed to his own demise, plonking a straightforward volley into the net – after pushing O’Connell out wide – to concede the all-important break in the fourth game of the fourth set.

Chris O'Connell is the second Aussie wildcard to advance to the next round. Picture: AFP
Chris O’Connell is the second Aussie wildcard to advance to the next round. Picture: AFP

There was no repeat of the third set, with O’Connell avoiding trouble as he set up a second-round clash with 13th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who beat Serb Filip Krajinovic in straight sets.

His forehand did most of his damage but he also landed north of 70 per cent of his first serves to help keep his 67th-ranked opponent at bay.

O’Connell reached his career-high singles ranking of 111 in September 2020 and is currently at No.175.

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(all times AEDT)

1:45pm DOUBLE AUSSIE TRIUMPH

She’s done it!

Stosur has made up for a slow start to win 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 as her final slam continues.

Moments later, Australian wildcard Tom O’Connell took out his match against Hugo Gastin 7-6, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.

1:29pm TWO AUSSIES UP A BREAK

Let’s go!

O’Connell and Sam Stosur are on the path to victory, with both Aussies up a break as they approach a second round berth.

Wildcard O’Connell is up 3-1 in the fourth set, having won the first two sets over Frenchman Hugo Gaston.

Meanwhile, Stosur is 4-2 up in the third set and is looking a much improved player since dropping the opening set.

1:03pm STOSUR CLAIMS SECOND SET – FINALLY…

The huge fist pump said it all! Sam Stosur is back in her first round match of her final grand slam — but it didn’t come without some nervous moments.

Serving for the set, 37-year-old and her opponent American wildcard Robin Anderson went to seven deuces , before Stosur — finally — put the lengthy game to bed, taking it out 6-3.

Can she take that momentum into the decider?

12:33pm AUSSIE FUMES IN STRAIGHT SETS LOSS

Aussie Daria Saville has gone down in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 to her Swedish opponent Rebecca Peterson as her frustrations spilled over.

Nearing the end of the second set, Saville sat down and threw her racquet into the bench at the change of ends and appeared to have some words for the chair umpire.

Meanwhile, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has been knocked out in straight sets as her form slump continues.

12:05pm ‘CLASSLESS’ STAR SLAMMED

Dayana Yastremska is never from controversy and she has been up to her usual tricks at the Australian Open, bowing out in the most controversial of ways.

The world No. 144 was up against American Madison Brengle in round one – a match whihc should have been hers for the taking.

Trailing 6-1 0-6 5-0 in the final set, having already had a toilet break and a medical timeout, Yastremska retired.

Why didn’t she just finish the match I hear you ask.

It’s a good question. One working theory is she didn’t want to suffer a double bagel.

Never far from controversy, Yastremska made headlines for all the wrong reasons 12 months ago after travelling to Australia depite being banned for testing positive to a banned substance.

Her gamesmanship has often been questioned – even by her peers with Caroline Wozniacki once accusing her of faking an injury.

11:54am PLAY HAS STARTED

It’s Australia Day at the Open with players 15 in action.

Hasn’t started all that well but there is time for it to build!

Daria Saville is a set down in her clash against Rebecca Peterson (2-6) while Sam Stosur is battling back on the Kia Arena.

Stosur, contesting her final Aus Open, is back at 4-4 in the first having trailed 4-1.

Come on Sammy, one more big one!

11:43am DJOKER RAGES OVER VISA TALK (sort of)

Of course it’s been edited, but it’s too good not to share.

In the annual Australian Open game of Guess Who, a brilliant editing job has been done to the Novak Djokovic video.

Andy Lee, the face of the game, is sat opposite the world No 1 as their game gets underway.

It takes Lee just one question to ascertain he is Djokovic.

“Do I have a legitimate reason to stay in the country?” Lee asks as Djokovic looks uncomfortable.

After a long pause, comes the answer. “No.”

As Lee flips down the players on his board only to be left with one, the Serb flies into a rage and throws the game and table across the room.

Just to be super clear, this video has been edited and is for entertainment value only!

11:20am ROWDY CROWDS

By Joe Barton

There are plenty of Australians in action at Melbourne Park today – and the home fans will be in full voice trying to get more local hopes into the second round.

But just what impact can a rowdy home crowd have?

Based on the evidence of Monday’s matches, it can be good and bad.

Ashleigh Barty would’ve beaten Lesia Tsurenko whether the match had been played in Kiev or Mars, let alone on Rod Laver Arena, but in the men’s draw John Millman and Thanasi Kokkinakis had vastly differing reactions to the boisterous crowds.

While Millman grew an extra leg with the support of the fans at Margaret Court Arena, Kokkinakis struggled mightily against German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann – who later said the Australian was “taken off guard” by the vocal nature of the crowd.

“Unbelievable feeling because the walk in on the court was something I think maybe in soccer matches you have it sometimes, but this was a much smaller court and the atmosphere that the crowd brought today was incredible,” Hanfmann said.

“I mean, I walked on court and I asked Thanasi ‘what the hell is going on here?’. And I think even he was a bit taken off-guard.”

Kokkinakis was rolled in straight sets, an inglorious first-round exit from a talented baseline warrior who picked up his first Tour-level title in Adelaide last week and arrived in Melbourne with great expectations.

Millman, however, secured his first grand slam victory in 17 months – with the backing of the Melbourne locals.

His opponent, Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, appeared to become frustrated as fans made noise between serves but later praised the atmosphere that was created.

Certainly Millman appreciated it.

“Hopefully I can get a bit of a rowdy crowd and a crowd that gets behind me in my next one (against Alexander Zverev),” he said.

Nick Kyrgios openly says he plays for the fans, rather than necessarily just for titles or personal success, and is sure to whip up a frenzy on John Cain Arena tonight when he opens his tournament against Brit Liam Broady.

One things for sure – he won’t be overwhelmed by the occasion. The People’s Court is his arena.

Members of the crowd fight over the wearing of masks on day one
Members of the crowd fight over the wearing of masks on day one

10:45am CRAIG’S LOST YEARS OFF HIS LIFE

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It’s been a tough few weeks for anyone caught up in the Novak Djokovic saga.

The world No 1 aside, perhaps TA CEO Craig Tiley has copped a hellish few months, years in fact.

Track back to midway through 2020, the world is in the grip of a pandemic and as the lead organiser of a grand slam, people want answers. What’s going to happen?

2021 Aus Open was in doubt, but Tiley and his team pulled it off. It was miraculous given the hoops they had to jump thorugh.

And now the last few months. The pandemic continued and new laws came into play which would impact who could come.

Tiley’s still standing.

He’s got the sympathy of the playing group and the support.

Alexander Zverev gave him a shout out last night (Monday).

“I think Craig Tiley has lost, I think, a few years of his life over the last two years,” he said.

“But is doing an incredible job. I mean, to make the event happen last year when the country was completely closed, and to make it happen this year again is one hell of an effort. I think he deserves a lot of credit.”

9:45am BLAME GAME CONTINUES

Djokovic might be back home but the blame game over the visa debacle continues.

Jim Courier has come out firing this morning, firmly in defence of Craig Tiley who has not been heard from in a fair while.

Speaking to Ch9, Courier said: “Tennis Australia did their job. Their job is to try and help the players gain entry to the tournament. Tennis Australia is not the government. They do not issue visas.

“They do not allow players to cross borders so I don’t know that you can lay this at the feet of Craig or Tennis Australia.

“Their job is to work this wonderful tournament thrive. Unless some underhanded things happened which we’re not aware of, which I highly doubt, knowing Craig and his integrity. I don’t think there is any more fault to be laid at the feet of Tennis Australia.”

8:55am WHAT MADE JELENA CRY?

Jelena Dokic was moved to tears during her interview with Ash Barty on Monday night, but what was it that moved her so much?

The former player turned commentator was charged with interviewing the world No 1 after her first round demolition of Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko, and it was clear how much the moment meant to Dokic.

“I want to first congratulate you on your Wimbledon win. I think I speak — not I think, I’m sure — I speak for everyone here, everyone in Australia, around the world, particularly myself — thank you,” Dokic said.

“You gave us so much joy watching that last year. You made us so proud. I get goosebumps right now. I just want to hug you but I can’t.

“There are no words to describe what you’ve done so thankyou for that.

“Now I’m going to lose all my questions.”

Dokic nailed the interview and earned wide praise for wearing her heart on her sleeve.

Barty too was faultless both in her match and interview.

8:20am ULTIMATE MELTDOWN

We all love a tennis tantrum right? I missed this one yesterday in all the mania, but it’s a cracker. In fact there’s a lot to unpack from this match involving Aus Open 2021 semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev.

Not known for emotional or rage-filled outbursts, the Russian star smashed a ball into the crowd (likely went out the rood and landed somewhere on Rod Laver Arena), smashed a racquet and copped code violations in his first round, near five-hour epic against Spain’s Jaume Munar.

That’s not all. The match stats are EYE POPPING.

En route to the second round, Karatsev hit 107 unforced errors and 87 winners compared to his opponent’s 24 winners and 35 unforced errors.

I suppose the only offering of assurance one can give him (besides the fact he didn’t lose) is that I’m reliably informed that six years ago, Novak Djokovic also hit 100 UEs on his way to a 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win against Gilles Simon in the fourth round.

So there’s that.

7:55am THANK YOU IMODIUM

Italian Matteo Berrettini battled stomach cramps and frequent trips to the toilet before winning his way through to the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.

The seventh seed held on to beat American Brandon Nakashima in a three-hour-10-minute struggle 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

Berrettini, who lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final, called the trainer after losing the opening set but rallied to take the match in four sets.

Berrettini scrawled “Imodium grazie!” on the courtside camera lens after completing his victory, but not until after making three emergency toilet breaks during the match.

“I’ve been feeling sick with my stomach, let’s say that,” Berrettini said. “It was really hard to play, especially the third and fourth set.”

7:30am GOOD MORNING

It’s day two of the tennis and day 15 of the Djokovic debacle. Plenty of news to get to on both fronts.

Here the snapshot:

Djokovic is back in Serbia where he got a heroes welcome

Djokovic’s participation at other slams is in doubt after new vaccine mandate laws brought in

Djokovic is facing the prospect of losing sponsors

TENNIS

Aussies had a great day 1

Barty is in scary good form

Kyrgios plays today as do 8 other Aussies

Tournament favourite Medvedev gets his campaign started today as well.

DAY TWO ORDER OF PLAY

ROD LAVER ARENA

Day session – From 11:00am AEDT

Women’s Singles • Round 1

C. Burel

G. Muguruza 3

Women’s Singles • Round 1

I. Swiatek 7

H. Dart Q

Men’s Singles • Round 1

H. Laaksonen

D. Medvedev 2

Night session – From 7:00pm AEDT

Women’s Singles • Round 1

S. Sanders WC

A. Sabalenka 2

Men’s Singles • Round 1

M. Ymer

S. Tsitsipas 4

MARGARET COURT ARENA

Day session – From 11:00am AEDT

Women’s Singles • Round 1

D. Saville WC

R. Peterson

Men’s Singles • Round 1

A. Rublev 5

G. Mager

Women’s Singles • Round 1

S. Halep 14

M. Frech

Night session – From 7:00pm AEDT

Men’s Singles • Round 1

L. Musetti

A. De Minaur 32

Women’s Singles • Round 1

S. Stephens

E. Raducanu 17

JOHN CAIN ARENA

Day session – From 11:00am AEDT

Women’s Singles • Round 1

P. Kvitova 20

S. Cirstea

Women’s Singles • Round 1

A. Kontaveit 6

K. Siniakova

Day session – Not before 3:00pm AEDT

Men’s Singles • Round 1

N. Basilashvili 21

A. Murray WC

Day session – Not before 7:00pm AEDT

Men’s Singles • Round 1

L. Broady Q

N. Kyrgios

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