No. 5 Nadal loses epic vs. Verdasco; Murray, Muguruza advance on Day 2
Catch up on all of the action, news and results from Day 2 at the 2016 Australian Open on Tuesday that you may have missed while you were sleeping.
Verdasco upsets Nadal in another epic in Melbourne
In a rematch of their 2009 semifinals match at the Australian Open, which lasted for five hours and 14 minutes, Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco once again put on a show for the Melbourne crowd on Tuesday. The two left-handed Spaniards battled for four hours and 41 minutes in another five-setter. But unlike their last match in '09, where Nadal won 6–7(4), 6–4, 7–6(2), 6–7(1), 6–4 to advance to the finals, the 32-year-old Verdasco summoned an incredible effort to defeat No. 5-seed Nadal 7–6(6) 4–6, 3–6, 7–6(4), 6–2.
[tweet= https://twitter.com/ ESPNTennis /status/689327899388727296]
After Nadal got early break in the fifth set, Verdasco reeled off six straight games to win the decider and upset his Spanish rival in the opening round. Verdasco hit 90 winners to Nadal's 37 on the match. He also hit 91 unforced errors to Nadal's 38 and had 182 total points, while Nadal had 180. The loss was only Nadal's second first round Grand Slam loss of his career (Wimbledon 2013).
"The match is a tough loss for me obviously...especially because is not like last year that I arrived here playing bad and feeling myself not ready for it," Nadal said after the match. "This year was a completely different story. I have been playing and practicing great and working so much. You know, is tough when you work so much and arrives a very important event and you're going out too early."
No. 2-seed Murray, No. 3-seed Muguruza ease into second round
Andy Murray had no trouble with 18-year-old German Alexander Zverev, beating him 6–1, 6–2, 6–3. Murray never gave Zverev a chance to break through in the match, hitting 28 winners to Zverev’s 23 winners and 20 unforced errors to his opponent’s 43 unforced errors. Zverev was unable to break Murray, while the No. 2 seed converted six break points.
In a post-match press conference after the win, Murray addressed the BBC/Buzzfeed report on match-fixing that was released on Monday, as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic did after their opening matches as well.
“Obviously, you know, some of the stuff that I read yesterday I wasn't aware of. Some of it I was already aware of….as a player you just want to be made aware kind of everything that's going on,” Murray said. “Some of it will be true; some of it might not be true. But, you know, I'm always very curious with that stuff across really all sports, as well. I think sports could in general be much, much more transparent.”
Murray will play Australian Sam Groth in the second round on Thursday, who beat Adrian Mannarino 7–6 (6), 6–4, 3–6, 6–3 on Tuesday.
No. 3 Garbine Muguruza needed only an hour to beat Anett Kontaveit 6–0, 6–4 in the opening match on Rod Laver.
Johanna Konta scores an upset over Venus Williams
After her 6–4, 6–2 loss to Konta in the first round, Venus declined to attend her mandatory press conference following the match, something she also did after her first-round defeat to Sloane Stephens at the 2015 French Open. She was later fined $3,000 for missing the conference.
Konta, who had lost to Venus in straight sets in their last match in Wuhan in October, said she was happy with her performance against “an incredibly great player.”
“I think it would be silly to look at Venus' age and somehow consider that as a reflection of her level,” Konta said after the match. “I think it's irrelevant how old she is because she's such a champion with so much experience and so much knowledge about the game. Even if she's playing with one leg out there, you've got to really take care of things on your own….I have all the respect for her in the world.”
No. 2 Halep stunned by Chinese qualifier Zhang
After playing through qualifying to earn a spot in the main draw, Shuai Zhang pulled of a shocking upset of No. 2-seed Simona Halep on Tuesday night. The upset marked the first time since 1979 that a top 2 seed lost in the first round at the Australian Open (Sawyer d. No. 1-seed Ruzici).
Read more about Zhang's upset here.
New coaching partnerships prove successful for Keys, Raonic in openers
Madison Keys overcame a slow start to beat Zarina Diyas 7–6(5), 6–1. After parting ways with Lindsay Davenport because of the former No. 1’s family and career responsibilities, Keys began working with former ATP player Jesse Levine and played in her first match of the season under Levine’s tutelage on Tuesday. The 20-year-old, who reached the semifinals in Melbourne last year, fought off three set points and came back to win the first set in a tiebreaker. In the second set, she jumped out to a 5–0 lead and sealed her spot in the second round.
Milos Raonic, who is also working with a new coach in 2016 after Ivan Ljubicic left his team to work with Roger Federer, easily beat Lucas Pouille 6–1, 6–4, 6–4 to advance to the second round. The Canadian is now working with Carlos Moya and is coming off a title run in Brisbane, where he defeated Federer in the final. He also explained the story behind his new accessory—a clear-colored mouth guard—after the match.
"Just to not grind my teeth while I play. It just causes stress and headaches sometimes," he said. "I wear it all the time other than when I'm eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly. Maybe I fiddle it with it too much while I play, but other than that it's pretty much there all the time."
More notable results: Chardy d. Gulbis 7–5, 2–6, 6–7, 6–3, 13–11; Jankovic d. beat Hercog 6–3, 6–3; Svitolina d. Duval 6–2, 6–3; Muller d. Fognini 7–6(6), 7–6(7), 6–7(5), 7–6(1); Strycova d. Garcia 6–2, 6–4; Ivanovic d. Patterson 6–2, 6–3; Bolelli d. Baker 7–6(6), 7–6(3), 6–7(2), 7–6(5); Ram d. Anderson 7–6(4), 6–7(4), 6–3, 3–0 ret’d
Jack Sock d. Taylor Fritz 6–4, 3–6, 0–6, 6–3, 6–4: In one of the strangest matches of the day, No. 25-seed Sock looked visibly ill in the first half of the match, losing the third set 6–0 in just 17 minutes. Sock rolled his ankle in the fourth set but soldiered on, and despite quality play from 18-year-old Fritz, Sock pulled away in five sets to advance.
Photo of the Day
This post will be updated.