The second round of the 2022 Australian Open is in the books. Day 3 followed the same trend of the first two days and was pretty subdued. Day 4 broke the mould with the first notable upsets of the tournament. I’ve been waiting for that moment, waking up and scrolling through the scores, befuddled and trying to process the results. It finally happened on Thursday! Read on for my notes from days 3 and 4.
2nd round stories 📚
As already mentioned, Wednesday was a very quiet Slam day. AA vs. BB didn’t live up to it’s billing on paper and was a mostly forgettable match. Amanda Anisimova extended her winning streak to seven in 2022, beating the number 22 seed, Belinda Bencic, 6-2 7-5. Bencic was clearly hampered by a back injury. It was a steady, focused display from Anisimova who didn’t get distracted by what was happening on the other side of the court.
I was also expecting good things from Victoria Azarenka against Jil Teichmann. In the end, it was a one-sided affair and pretty close to a perfect match from Azarenka who won, 6-1 6-2. Break point conversions say it all – Azarenka 4/4 and Teichmann 0/5. Azarenka played the big points better. Azarenka returned exceptionally well and was constantly looking to step up the court and dictate the rallies. Yeah, Vika’s one to watch…
And it was three for three on anticipated matches not living up to the hype in my head… I thought Maria Sakkari was going to be challlenged by Zheng Qinwen. Aside from a late charge by Zheng, it was one-way traffic for Sakkari who won, 6-1 6-4. The transformation on Sakkari’s serve still impresses me. It’s such a weapon and Sakkari wins so many more free points off it compared to a few years ago. Also key to the win, Sakkari was able to exploit Zheng’s movement side-to-side. Zheng is one to keep an eye on for 2022. I’m still undecided on Sakkari at this tournament although this was definitely a step-up from the first round. A decent draw…
Thursday featured the first sprinklings of carnage as two of the top eight seeds were out in quick succession in the opening matches on Rod Laver Arena and MCA. Clara Tauson sent out a beacon to the rest of the field with a statement Slam win, beating the number six seed, Anett Kontaveit, 6-2 6-4. It was nice to see one of my picks prevail but i’m sad it was at the expense of Anett. Tauson played a brilliant match. Even watching on the TV, you get a sense of Tauson’s weight of shot. I can’t wait to watch Tauson live! I thought Kontaveit was rattled right from start and I think this was because of the pressure that Tauson exerted, particularly on return. It felt like Kontaveit was rushing and she missed a lot more balls than we’re used to seeing. I loved what Tauson said in her post-match interview – “I was just going in to try and see where my level was at and… here I am!”.
In the biggest upset of the day, Alizé Cornet knocked out the number three seed, Garbiñe Muguruza, 6-3 6-3. Crazy stat alert – Cornet didn’t face a break point! I can’t get my head around that. Cornet obviously played a super match but I was disappointed at Muguruza’s level and so was she by the sounds of it in her press conference. It was one of those ultra-passive displays from Muguruza who didn’t offer a great deal in the rallies. When she did try to move forward to the net, she lacked conviction. Another notable departure from this section of the draw, and many people’s dark horse pick, was the number 12 seed, Elena Rybakina who was forced to retire down 4-6 0-1 to Zhang Shuai due to an ankle injury.
The final seed to fall was probably the most interesting match of the day as Danka Kovinic beat the number 17 seed, Emma Raducanu, 6-4 4-6 6-3. Raducanu was hampered by a blister on her hand which meant that she resorted to slicing her forehand for the majority of the match. MONICA NICULESCU IS ALIVE!
I actually came away from the match feeling more positive about Raducanu than I had prior to this Australian swing. She could easily have thrown in the towel and she said in press that her team had advised her not to play. Raducanu showed bundles of resilience and another facet to her game with the forehand slice 😂. Not to be in the end but I enjoyed seeing a different side to Raducanu at this tournament. The US Open was all about the one-sided matches and this Slam, she’s had to battle in three setters. Kovinic served it out for a career landmark win as she reached the third round of a Slam for the first time in her career.
Favourite match 🎆
I loved the 69-minute opening set between Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marta Kostyuk. Just standard for SST! It was the most entertaining set i’ve watched so far with many fun, cat-and-mouse rallies and an interesting clash in styles between the pair.
Sorribes Tormo led for most of the first set and was two points away from winning it at 5-3* 30-15*. On the next point, the Spaniard should have chalked up a set point but lacked a bit of conviction in a winning position at the net. Kostyuk, who showed plenty of resolve and recognised the need to come forward, won the opener on a 29 (!) shot rally. Kostyuk won the last four games of the match to win, 7-6(5) 6-3 in what was the only seeded upset on Wednesday’s OOP.
Of all the players you’d want to play in your last singles match, I think Pavs would be pretty high on that list.
Funny moment 🤣
Pavs and Rublev are a hoot together.
Super snap 📸
Adore this shot ❤.
Press highlights 📰
Victoria Azarenka speaks a lot of sense.
Recommended media 📺
Sam Stosur’s singles career came to a close on Thursday. Things I will remember – the 2011 US Open title run, reliably beating my faves at Roland Garros and seeing Sam every year in Eastbourne. I remember getting her autograph on one of my first trips and when she went into the stands to collect donations during the Rally4Bally exhibition. Such a nice person. Watching this on-court ceremony gave me goosebumps.
R2 stats: 20/32 on TDC
R2 highlights: I correctly picked three unseeded players to the third round – Tauson, Kostyuk and Anisimova. Lost my finalist in Mugu and my bold (and now silly looking 😂) QF pick of Samsonova. Sabalenka’s section is a sea of red!
R3 previews 🤔
(27) Danielle Collins vs. Clara Tauson: I think this might be my favourite match-up of the round. Can’t call it! Collins won their only previous meeting which like this one, came after Tauson had upset a seed in the previous round. Interesting to see Tauson’s progression from that French Open clash. Collins proving once again she can come in cold to a Slam and impress.
(13) Naomi Osaka vs. Amanda Anisimova: Ding ding ding, first time meeting! Both have yet to lose a match this year. Yeah, this should be fun. We’re two matches away from Barty-Osaka but it’s by no means a given with their third round draws.
(15) Elina Svitolina vs. (24) Victoria Azarenka: 4-0 head-to-head in Azarenka’s favour who has started the season far more convincingly than Svitolina. It almost feels too obvious?! Still, Vika for the win.