Muguruza, Konta, Goffin, Wawrinka Lose in Second Round, Extreme Heat at Australian Open
(January 18, 2018) Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza became the highest ranked player for lose at the Australian Open on Thursday when the No. 3 seed lost to Taipei’s Hsieh Su-wei 7-6 (1), 6-4.
Muguruza who had her thigh taped came into the tournament retiring with cramps in the second round at the Brisbane International and withdrew before her quarterfinal at the Sydney tournament due to a right thigh injury.
“I got blisters under my foot and I tried to cover it to prevent it from getting worse,” she told media.
Muguruza made 43 unforced errors during the match.
“She’s definitely a very tricky opponent, and even more if she plays well. I think today she played well,” said the Spaniard of the world No. 82 Hsieh.
“I maybe could have done things better, but at the end, she deserves to win. That’s really it.”
Maria Sharapova avenged a loss at the US Open, beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (4). This is Sharapova’s first time back in Melbourne since serving a 15-month doping ban for testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
After an easy first set the Russian was in a fight for the second set, broken while serving for the match before winning it in the tiebreak.
“She never really lets up,” the Russian said of her opponent. “Although I think she — she gets a lot of balls back. That’s not — that’s something that I had trouble with in the previous matches that I played against her.
“You know, I was really happy with how aggressive I was. I was consistent, but I was looking to come forward. I played really well at the net, finished the balls off with a swing volley or good volley. Something I’ve been working on, and definitely improved in the match today.
“Little dicey in the second set, to say the least, but I got through it. I did the job in two, and that’s not something I did, you know, towards the end of last year.
“I think that’s an improvement.”
“It’s a warm day. I did my job in two sets against someone that’s been troubling in the past for me,” said Sharapova.
The 2008 champion will next take on the 2016 winner in Angelique Kerber for a p-lace in the round pf 16. Kerber, celebrating her 30th birthday beat Donna Vekic 6-1, 6-4. It’s Kerber’s 11th straight win of the season.
Another upset on the women’s side saw 2016 semifinalist Johanna Konta of Great Britain lose to lucky loser, Bernarda Pera. Pera, an American is ranked 123 in the world. This is Konta’s worst loss since losing to 164th ranked Maria Teresa Torro Flor at a challenger event.
Pera is making her major tournament debut in Melbourne. She made the draw when Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan withdrew with an injury.
Pera was born in Croatia and moved to the U.S. when she was 16.
“I think it was kind of two parts of the match in the sense that I think she played very inspired throughout the whole way, and I think I didn’t do enough at the beginning when I had little windows of kind of putting kind of my stamp on the match,” Konta said to media. “I felt I didn’t quite get enough into the match to be able to, yeah, to be able to get going a little bit.
“Yeah, so I think that was kind of the theme throughout the whole match. I think she played well. I do think so. And I didn’t quite do as much as I wanted. I think in the points I did okay, and I think I stayed quite strong. But I don’t think I did enough with my service games, and I don’t think I did enough with my returns, as well. I don’t think I adapted well enough.
“It’s a bit frustrating, but also I think I’m still taking good stuff from this. I don’t feel, by any means, it’s a massive catastrophe. I play every event to be there till the end, so I definitely don’t want to be going home this early.
“But I think in terms of building myself back up again and then playing the way I want to play, I think I keep moving forward.”
Seeded women also advancing were No. 1 seed Simona Halep, still nursing an ankle injury, No. 8 Caroline Garcia, No. 17 Madison Keys, No. 18 Ashley Barty, No. 20 Barbora Strycova, No. 21 Angelique Kerber, No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska, and No. 29 Lucie Safarova.
Other seeded women losing on Thursday were No. 16 Elina Vesnina who lost to Naomi Osaka and No. 28 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
Six-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic beat the extreme heat and his opponent Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) heat.
“The conditions were brutal, that’s for sure,” Djokovic said. “I mean, we both struggled. Maybe he struggled a bit more, you know, in a period, end of the second set, entire third set. That’s where I think I managed to get on top of him, you know, get even on sets, obviously start off well in the third.
“It was obvious that he was not at his best. He was just, you know… At times we were both just trying to get a little bit of extra breath, a few seconds more, so we can recover. We were also getting into some long exchanges and rallies. That’s what happens when we play each other.
“I was mentioning on the court that he truly is one of the best athletes we have in tennis. He hasn’t lost a match this year. He won a tournament. He was feeling confident. He started well. I didn’t start well at all. I was a set down. Obviously just try to hang in there and wait for opportunities, and when they’re presented, obviously try to use them.
“But, you know, it was just one of these days where you had to stay tough mentally. I think physically it was obvious that, you know, just have to try to hang in there.
“When you’re facing such conditions, obviously it affects you mentally, as well. It was a big challenge for both of us to be on the court, to be able to finish the match. I’m just glad that I managed to come out on top.”
Defending champion Roger Federer ended the night session with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Jan-Lennard Struff.
No. 5 Dominic Thiem rallied from two sets down to defeat 190th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
“Of course it’s very tough,” Thiem said of the comeback. “Not easy mentally, but, yeah, from that moment on I was a break up in the third set, the mind was again positive. Also in the first two sets it was close sets. I think I had my chances in both sets, so I always knew that if I play well and if I keep it up that I could turn it around.”
Wildcard Julien Benneteau toppled seventh seed David Goffin 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-6 (4) for his second-ever win over a top ten player at major tournament.
The 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka came to play in Melbourne, not 100 percent after being off the tour due to knee surgery. The ninth seed Wawrinka lost 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to American Tennys Sandgren ranked 97th in the world.
Wawrinka said that he waited until he the last minute to decide to play in Melbourne.
“I was struggling with everything, not the knee especially,” said the Swiss. “The knee was still handling well. As long as I enter on the court, and I don’t feel any big injury, I’m not going to retire. I was trying to fight. I knew it will be difficult to come back or to play better at the end.
“Again, I was here to fight and to try everything I could.”
For Sandgren it’s one of the biggest wins of his career.” I guess the second biggest stage I played on. Playing on Arthur Ashe last year was probably the biggest. This would definitely be. All the categories: biggest win, biggest moment of getting a victory, setting me up for the biggest stage to play third round of a slam, biggest opportunity. All those good things.”
American Sam Querrey was also an upset victim. The 13th seed losing to 80th-ranked Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-2.
Other men’s seeds advancing were Juan Martin del Potro, No. 19 Tomas Berdych and No. 21 Albert Ramos Vinolas.