After seeing Amanda Anisimova lose in the first round to Zarina Diyas, I was surprised to see she was asked by a journalist in her press conference whether she was unsettled by the death of her father, who passed away the week before last years US Open? I mean, WOW what a ridiculous question to put at someone? The 18-year-old responded with “Do we really have to talk about this so fast after a match?” She left the room in tears. Utter nonsense from the journo and he should be ashamed! It was great to see Nick sticking up for her on Twitter.
Second seed Karolina Pliskova and fourth seed Simona Halep both came through potentially tricky matches against Kristina Mladenovic and Jennifer Brady. Halep has got as slight wrist concern but it didn’t seem to stop her too much against Brady.
On Brit watch Jo Konta’s loss to Ons Jabeur comes as no surprise, it is only her second match since the US Open, after losing to Barbora Strycova in Brisbane. Knee injuries as we know are not the easiest to come back from. Katie Boulter is still making progress on her return from a back injury, she gave Elina Svitolina a real game but just came up short at the business end of each set. Harriet Dart won a see-saw battle against Misaki Doi. She kept her composure in this one having trailed by a set and a break and then missing match points of her own in the third. She will have a crack at Simona Halep in the second round.
Belinda Bencic was given a run by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, people forget the Slovakian was looking a top player a few years back in 2015. She will play Jelena Ostapenko next, the Latvian also sadly losing her father lately. Donna Vekic comfortably sent Sharapova home but it was more of a struggle for Danielle Collins who had to grind it out in three against Vitalia Diatchenko. Marketa Vondrousova was beaten by Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Czech was given a rough draw here, especially after just coming back from injury herself.
In the other half, held over from Day 1, Dayana Yastremska sealed her second round encounter against Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane playing her last event here and it will be interesting to see how Yastremska handles the occasion. The talk coming from her is that it is her goal to win a slam this year and the general consensus is she is playing well. Looking forward to this one tonight.
On Brit watch in the men’s, there were defeats for both Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie. Edmund left the court a break up last night but on the resumption today, lost his serve and the match slipped away from him against Dusan Lajovic. I still think Kyle will have a better season this year though. Norrie lost from two sets to one up against Pierre Hugues-Herbert, the Frenchman appeared to be struggling in the fourth but won through.
Rafa and Nick were easy winners against Hugo Dellien and Lorenzo Sonego unsurprisingly. I had heard Dellien say before that this match was being treated like a World Cup back home in Bolivia. He gave it his all but just didn’t have the weapons against Rafa, not many do. Daniil Medvedev dropped a set against Frances Tiafoe and wasn’t happy with how he served. I think there were a few first-round nerves in there though and that will ease now. Dominic Thiem also saw off a second set test to beat Adrian Mannarino. Elsewhere Andrey Rublev continued his unbeaten start to the year, David Goffin ousted Jeremy Chardy and Sascha Zverev had his usual topsy-turvy (but straight sets win on this occasion) slam win, this time over Marco Cecchinato. Karen Khachanov was made to work hard by Spanish qualifier Mario Vilella Martinez but won in four, Felix Auger-Aliassime wasn’t so lucky against Ernests Gulbis though. Gulbis has got through qualies and is showing signs of rolling back the years here, he said he was ’emotional’ after this victory.
Finally, it is worth noting the conclusion of Fabio Fognini against Reilly Opelka seemed pretty feisty today. Fabio was quoted as saying “I can’t play with a referee who doesn’t give me tranquillity. When [Rafael] Nadal asks for it, you [ATP] do it, when Fognini asks for it, you don’t. When His Majesty asks for it, you do it. You’re a shame. You’re not fit for this. You can’t give me point penalty for throwing my racket when [Opelka] is saying ‘f**k, f**k’ all the time.” He later apologised after being fined. Fognini said: “If somebody feels offended, I say sorry. No problem.” Opelka had been heard swearing at the umpire as Fognini noted. The Italian came from two sets down last night to win today. Classic Fabio and another pop at Nadal!
Andy Del Potro