This week saw the start of the first Grand Slam of 2017, the Australian Open in Melbourne that runs from 16th until 29th January. World and British number one Andy Murray is top seed in this years Men’s singles draw and he is looking to add this title, that has so far eluded him even though he’s been in the final five times) to his ever growing collection. Standing in his way is defending champion Novak Djokovic who beat Murray in the 2016 final to claim his sixth Australian Open crown.
In the first round Murray beat Illya Marchenko from the Ukraine in three sets 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to set up a second round clash with Russian Andrey Rublev which he also won 6-3, 6-0, 6-2. He will now face thirty-first seed Sam Querrey from America in the third round on Djokovic beat Fernando Verdasco in the first round and now faces Denis Isthmian in round two.
World number nine Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since 2014, defeated Florian Mayer from Germany 6-3, 6-4 ,6-4, he now faces Marcos Baghdatis. Four time champion Roger Federer has progressed to the third round after beating Jurgen Melter 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
In other British players news, Dan Evans beat Facundo Bagnis from Argentina 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-1 and then pulled off a shock four set defeat of seventh seed and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, he will now face either twenty-seventh seed Bernard Tomic from Australia or Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic. Kyle Edmund beat Columbian Santiago Giraldo in his first round match 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 but Aljaz Bedene lost in round one against Victor Estrella Burgos in four sets 7-6 (9-7), 7-5, 0-6, 6-3.
Dan Evans celebrating his shock victory against Marin Cilic
In other shock news Australian Nick Kyrgios, seeded fourteenth, was knocked in round two after he was beaten by Italy’s Andreas Seppi. Tempestaous Kyrgios (who received warnings from the umpire) lost his two set lead against the fifty-ninth seed and crashed out of his home tournament after losing the five-set marathon 1-6, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4 , 6-2, 10-8.
Defending women’s champion Angelique Kerber from Germany didn’t have an easy start to this year’s tournament after dropping a set in her first round match against Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 and will now play Kristyna Pliskova in the next round. Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams is hoping to win her 23rd Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne and get her 2017 campaign off to a good start beating Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-3.
British number one and ninth seed Johanna Konta who made it to the semi-final last year beat Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium 7-5, 6-2 in round one and will next play against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. In her first round singles match Heather Watson beat eighteenth seed Samantha Stosur from Australia 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 but lost in the doubles first round with fellow Brit Naomi Broady against Italy’s Karin Knapp and Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5). Brady lost in the singles against Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 4-6, 5-7.
Defending Men’s Doubles champions Brit Jamie Murray and partner Bruno Soares from Brazil are second seeds in this year’s competition, they face USA pairing of Query and Donald Young in the first round.