Yes, it is only January, but the tennis season has already begun and the ATP tour is presenting the first grand slam tournament of 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.
A surprise has already been registered in this tournament as Andy Murray lost his first round match. Facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ranked 38th in the world, Murray was left without a solution in front of the opposition offered by Tsonga. Murray was only able to win the third set but it is his young opponent who finally won the match in four sets of 7-5, 6-4, 0-6 and 7-6 (7-5).
Rafael Nadal also had his share of problems as he faced Viktor Troicki, a player issued from the qualifying tournament and ranked 126th in the world. The first two sets were very evenly matched but Nadal and his superior experience managed to win the important points and closed out the match in three sets of 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 and 6-1.
In the other first round matches on the men's side, the world ranking was respected as Andy Roddick, Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny, Tommy Robredo and Richard Gasquet qualified for the second round.
On the women's side of the competition, the defending champion, Serena Williams (7) opened her tournament with a two set victory, 6-3 and 6-3, over the australian Jarmila Gajdosova.
Justine Henin (1) also qualified for the second round as she defeated Aiko Nakamura easily by 6-2 and 6-2.
Maria Sharapova (5) , Elena Dementieva (11), Tatiana Golovin (13), Amelie Mauresmo (18) and Patty Schnyder (15) also qualified for the second round of the Australian open.