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.