It’s always difficult coming into the first Grand Slam of the year.
It is as though one has to shake off the excesses of the Christmas festivities,shed the trappings of successes in the previous year and get down to business on a clean slate. Yet, one has to act as though one were never away from the hurly-burly of the action on court.
Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych, Andy Roddick, Gael Monfils, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Li Na and Svetlana Kuznetsova were among the seeds who progressed into the second round—as expected.
There were minor hiccups to be overcome for Justine Henin,Yanina Wickmayer and Gael Monfils but nothing serious.
However, some seeds were not so fortunate.
Daniela Hantuchova—the willowy Slovakian—made a first-round exit, losing a heart-rending third set to her challenger, Russian Regina Kulikova.
American Bethanie Mattek-Sands was another form player making an early exit, losing to Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.
Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai crashed out in three sets 0-6,6-3,5-7 to Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
It was the men’s arena that witnessed the big upsets.
Nikolay Davydenko, who made the final at Doha beating Rafael Nadal in the semis, was unceremoniously dumped out of the tournament by Germany’s Florian Mayer.
Another early casualty was American Sam Querrey, overwhelmed in five sets by Pole Lukasz Kubot. Fellow American Ryan Harrison, who did astoundingly well at the US Open, was shown the door by Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
And big-serving Ivo Karlovic was knocked out by fellow Croat Ivan Dodig in another five-setter.
A quick dekko at the giant-killers at this year’s Australian Open so far.
Lukasz Kubot is ranked No. 72 in singles and turned pro in 2002. The Australian Open showcased his best ever major performance—a fourth-round finish in 2010.
His career-high ranking was 41 in 2010, his best year on the tour.
Kubot has yet to win an ATP tour event but has finished runner-up at the 2010 Costa de Sauipe and the 2009 Belgrade Open, both on clay.
He is the first player from his country to break the top 100 barrier.
The Pole knocked out 18th-seed Sam Querrey in five sets over three hours on Show Court 2.
The final scoreline: 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 8-6.
Kubot comes up against Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky who knocked out Germany's Daniel Brands.
A third round match against survivor Mardy Fish looms.
36th-ranked Florian Mayer caused the biggest upset in the men’s draw when he dismantled Nikolay Davydenko in four sets.
It seemed business as usual with the Russian taking the first set 6-3. Then the German fought back to clinch the next three sets 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4.
Mayer next takes on Kei Nishikori in an intriguing encounter.
Mayer has not had much success at the Grand Slams, his best result was a quarter-finals run at Wimbledon in 2004.
Ivan Dodig is known for making a splash at the Australian Open. Last year, he knocked out Juan Carlos Ferrero in the first round.
This time, it was his compatriot Ivo Karlovic who suffered at his hands.
The result makes no difference to Novak Djokovic who will find Dodic as tricky an opponent as Karlovic.
Dodig won in five sets,4-6, 6-3, 7(8)-6, 6-4, 6-4.
21-year-old Regina Kulikova is the surprise first-round winner against Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.
The Russian is currently ranked No. 90, but the 28th-seed Hantuchova had her hands full against the spunky young conntender.
The third set was tight with the Russian breaking through and holding serve to win 9-7.
The final score: 7-6(3), 3-6, 9-7.
Kulikova takes on South African Chanelle Scheepers who knocked out Croatian Karolina Sprem.
Can Kulikova Chanelle her energy and focus to reach the third round?
The 2002 and 2003 Australian Open junior champion, the Czech player proved too strong for France’s Aravane Rezai.
Her career wins include victories over Eleni Daniilidou, Flavia Pennetta, Regina Kulikova, Elena Vesnina and Daniela Hantuchová. She can now add Rezai to this list.
She holds the unique record of playing the longest ever women’s Grand Slam match against Regina Kulikova lasting four hours and 19 minutes at last year’s Australian Open.
Kulikova is the the other giant-killer in the women’s draw.
Záhlavová-Strýcova clashes with Jelena Dokic next.
Can she dock the Dokic?
Who is Arantxa Rus?
Now, we know.
She's no Russian but a tennis player from Netherlands.
Born in the Delft and residing in Monster, this 20-year-old made sure of a ticket to the second round knocking out form player American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first.
The Dutch player came through three tough qualifying rounds.
All that match-practice proved good enough to knock out Mattek-Sands in three sets 6-1,3-6,7-5.
She takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova in the next round.
Can Arantxa roll the dice in a game of Russian Roulette?
If you really want something in life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers.