This post was first published by Ubitennis on 20 January 2016 at the following link.
The second round of a grand slam tournament is typically when the leading players lay down a marker for the kind of form they’re in. The early second round matches from this year’s Australian Open were no different with Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori impressing.
Photo: Jason Lockett / Tennis Australia
Berdych, twice a semi-finalist in Melbourne and the number 6 seed this year, gave up just seven games in his 6-4 6-0 6-3 dismissal of Mirza Basic, the 24 year old qualifier from Bosnia. In his on-court interview, Berdych acknowledged the tough conditions, particularly the humidity, but was pleased with how he handled them. Berdych won 37 of 39 first serve points, served 15 aces and did not face a break point. He converted 5 of 14 break point opportunities and restricted his opponent to just 5 points in a 21 minute second set. In the third round, Berdych will play the winner of Nick Kyrgios, the home favourite, and Pablo Cuevas, who play later on Wednesday.
The Australian Open has perhaps been Kei Nishikori’s most consistent grand slam: a quarter finalist last year, it has taken a top 5 player to knock him out in each of the last four years. In second round action, the Japanese number one defeated Austin Krajicek, a long-time friend, 6-3 7-6 6-3. The match was played under the roof on the Margaret Court Arena due to early rain. This might have given the big serving American an advantage but Nishiori’s return game was always likely to be decisive, breaking Krajicek once in each set. Nishikori was pleased with his form and his tactics: “He has [a] great serve, and last time he played much more aggressive. He came to the net little more. But I think what I did well, I hit deep a lot of times. I stopped him from coming in, and I served really well today.” In the third round, Nishikori will play the winner of Daniel Brands and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the number 26 seed.
In other early second round matches, David Goffin and Dominic Thiem, seeded 15 and 19 respectively, set their third round clash. Thiem, 22, dismissed Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-1 6-3, breaking his opponent six times while not giving up a single break point opportunity on his own serve.
It was not so straightforward for Goffin, a Davis Cup finalist in November, who played Damir Dzumhur, who reached the third round her in 2014. Having won the first set 6-4, the Belgian proceeded to lose seven service games in a row before righting the ship and coming through 6-4 0-6 6-4 6-2. In their relatively young careers, Goffin and Thiem have already played five times at ATP level, with the 25 year old Belgian leading 3-2. It was Thiem, however, who won their last match in the Swiss mountains of Gstaad. The prize for the winner: a fourth round clash with either Federer or Dimitrov.