Australian Open 2012 Results: 5 Things Learned from Men's Draw on Jan. 16

Carlos TorresContributor IJanuary 17, 2012

Australian Open 2012 Results: 5 Things Learned from Men's Draw on Jan. 16

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    The Australian Open started on Monday and the bottom half of the men's draw played in its entirety.

    In the first day of a tournament a lot of things or nothing will happen. Whichever the case we always try to read between the lines of the results and see what things we can learn from what transpired on opening day.

    Sixty-four players started their bid to become the year's first Grand Slam winner, including second and third favorites, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

    Both of them easily went through to the second round. Just as easy we already know they meant business and dispatched their overly-matched qualifier opponents.

    But let's take a look at five things we learned from today's 32 matches in the men's draw.

Bernard Tomic Is the Real Deal

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    Picture this. You are just 19 years old, unseeded and playing your opening round match of the year's first Grand Slam in front of your home country crowd on the main tennis stadium arena.

    Add the fact that you are facing a man that beat you easily the only time you met him, and is the 22nd seed in the tournament. 

    Two sets have been played and you lost both of them. That means your name is Bernard Tomic.

    Just imagine the pressure he must have felt in that very moment. Gravity just doubled upon him.

    He could have easily folded, played the third set and hit the showers early. But he didn't.

    He rode the crowd's support and overcame the deficit, outlasting Spain's Fernando Verdasco in five sets.

    If that didn't make him tournament tough, nothing will. Bernard Tomic's time is quickly approaching.

Americans Go 4-1, Have a Bright Tournament Ahead

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    Mardy Fish led the Americans into the second round as he was joined by John Isner, Sam Querrey and Donald Young.

    Qualifier Alex Kuznetsov was the unlucky one twice, as he drew Rafael Nadal, and the Spaniard showed in top form even after sustaining an injury to his knee the day before.

    All four Americans played very well and are on the bottom half of the draw, where if the planets align, any one of them could be in place for a deep run in the tournament.

    That space phenomena could happen, as Nadal's injury status will become clearer in the upcoming days, and you never know when Fed-Ex's back problems might return.

    Hey, the sun shines bright down under.

Juan Martin Del Potro Should Make It Deep in the Tournament

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    Most people are still waiting for Juan Martin Del Potro to return to that superb form he displayed in the summer of 2009.

    He has been working hard to get back, and it has been a slow but steady improving process.

    And even when today you take a look at the match statistics, and block the names on top, you would think that Del Potro lost.

    That was how much he struggled, as he looked nervous at the beginning—losing the first set—but recovered to improve in the match as he regained confidence.

    He is on a collision course for a possible quarterfinal match against the man he defeated in the 2009 US Open final, Roger Federer.

    His next two matches are against much lesser quality opponents, and he could use them to keep gaining and building confidence.

    We might be in for the return to top form of the best forehand in the game. That might spell trouble for the contenders in the Australian Open.

Roger Federer Eases into the Second Round, and Has No Hard Feelings for Nadal

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    Roger Federer is still on track for his 17th Grand Slam title after dispatching, with fair easiness, qualifier Alexander Kudryavtsev, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

    Shortly after the match Federer downplayed the expressions Rafael Nadal made a day earlier about Federer on disagreement on player grievances regarding schedules or prize money.

    He said things between him and Nadal are just fine and will continue to be that way.

    Sure. I guess we will have to wait until the semifinals to see how they settle this on court.

Rafael Nadal's Bid Was Nearly over Before It Started

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    Rafael Nadal revealed he had an MRI scan done on his right knee late on Sunday.

    He injured it when sitting on a chair in his hotel room. Fortunately for him, the results of the MRI were negative and showed no major damage.

    Talk about close calls.

    Nadal's tournament was almost over before hitting a single ball. He went on to blast his opponent, qualifier Alex Kuznetsov, in straight sets.

    But this makes you wonder how much more Nadal's body can take.

    A sore left shoulder, now his knee. I am sure we will know more as the days go by, but for someone whose game is based on his movement, this could impact his play and future results.

    Hopefully he is fine and we can see fiery Nadal take a shot at his 11th Grand Slam title.