I didn’t watch this match but I feel obliged to make a post. It was in the early morning hours for me and I figured it would be a routine win for Roger anyway, which it turned out to be. I caught the highlights on Youtube and clearly I didn’t miss much. Duckworth is just a solid base liner with no weapons, so it was never gonna be much of a test for Roger. It was brutal 43 degree heat out there however, which meant Roger had to try and shorten the points. It was also important that he got it done in straight sets. That was the main requirement. He got one break in each of the first two sets and two breaks in the 3rd. Surprisingly Duckworth served more aces than Roger(13-11), but Roger served a higher 1st serve percentage(58-52). The worrying thing was that Roger converted only 4/17 break points again.
There is a new partnership in town…
Not exactly a sign of confidence, but as the opponent is young and inexperienced it didn’t matter much. Roger plays Kavcic next after Stepanek withdrew due to an injury. I don’t know much about Kavcic. Not sure I’ve seen him play. He is ranked just inside the top 100 at 99. Roger have never played against him either. Surely this will be another routine win. Hopefully the break points Roger wasted against Duckworth was just because it was first round and he will put in a more efficient performance against Kavcic. I’m sure they will schedule him for the night session this time as well which would make things easier. The heat is brutal in Melbourne which doesn’t play in Roger’s favor at this stage of his career, so clean and efficient performances will be important if he wants to do damage in the second week.
Of course there was the anticipated Nadal/Tomic match today as well, but it turned out to be a letdown as Tomic withdrew with a thigh injury after losing the first set 6-4. I’m not sure Tomic could have gotten more than a set out of that match anyway. This means Nadal saves energy, but he probably hit the practice court afterwards for five hours in the brutal heat just to work up a sweat anyway. He never gets tired, so why not? Murray also played today and had a pretty impressive routine win over Soeda. It’s just a first round against no one important but Murray certainly can’t be underestimated to do well here. If he finds some confidence he can go deep. Tsonga also had a fairly straight forward win over Volandri, while Verdasco needed four sets to get by Roger’s old doubles partner Ze Zhang.
I loved the day outfit. You?
Verdasco plays Gabashvili in the second round who defeated Stakhovsky. So unfortunately no Federer/Stakhovsky rematch. In the bottom half nothing particularly interesting happened. Djokovic had a pretty average straight set win over Lacko by his own high standards, although he did deliver a bread stick in the final set. It was his first competitive match in 2014 and I’m sure from here on he will take no prisoners. My stance on this Australian Open is clear. I don’t think Roger will win it so the second best result is that Nadal doesn’t win it. And for that to happen Djokovic must win it. I don’t see anyone else stopping Nadal, unless Del Potro does something special because he has never gone past the quarter finals in Melbourne. He struggled somewhat in his first match losing the first set, but who knows, maybe this could be his year.