Tennis  

A day of mixed results, record attendance

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Donald Young of the US in their men’s singles first round match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 16, 2018. / AFP PHOTO<br />

The top seeded men and women sailed through the first round in the two sessions on the second day that set records in attendance. Federer, Djokovic Zverev, Thiem, Berdych advanced while Halep survived a first set scare before prevailing.

The second seeded Roger Federer defeated Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia in straight sets, 6/3; 6/4; 6/3. The 49th ranked Aljaz put up a challenge but a break of serve in each set gave Federer the victory. There were great expectations on Djokovic’s clash with flashy American southpaw Donald Young but the contest did not fit the hype.

Djokovic conceded only one game in the first and almost repeated the feat in the second that he won 6-2. In the third set, Donald found his rhythm but lost 6-4.

It looked like a quick outing for the fourth seed Alexander Zverev after winning the first set 6-1 but things changed after that. His opponent from Italy, Thomas Fabbiano kept pace with him and was close to winning the second set which he lost by only two points in the tie break. The German secured one break of serve in taking the third set 7-5.

The fifth seed, Dominic Thiem of Austria faced Guido Pella of Argentina. Thiem raced through the first two sets, 6-3; 6-3 and led 3-1 in the second. In the ninth game, Pella (ranked 64 in the world) held his serve to stay in the match. Serving for the match, Dominic opened with a forehand winner but made a subsequent forehand error.

Another forehand winner put him ahead 30-15 but he double-faulted and faced break point when Guido hit a forehand winner. Thiem’s lethal backhand annulled the break threat. He then proceeded to take the last two points for set and the match.

World number one woman player, Simona Halep had a scary start against Australian Destaane Aiva, ranked 157 in the world, and who benefitted from a wild-card. The tall 17-year old justified the offer as she kept pace with a seemingly nervous Simona.

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