Patrick Mouratoglou

Outstanding second day

Patrick Mouratoglou

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We were spoiled with some outstanding matches on the second day in Melbourne.

In the women's draw, the match between Roberta Vinci and the veteran Alicia Molik, which was not promising at first look, ended with a huge battle. The Australian won 8-6 in the third set after rallying from 5-3 down.

At 30 years old and after a forced break from tennis due to an infection of the inner ear, she showed once more that the Australian fighting spirit is not just fiction, but part of their sporting culture.

The last two sets were of high quality and played with inspiration: both came to the net to attack and tried to change the pace when necessary.

For those who assume the women's game to be dull, this match made a great case for the defence.

I was very sad to see Kimiko Date Krumm lose her match against Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 in the third after leading 4-1. I have nothing against the Polish player, but I feel an endless admiration for the Japanese: at 40 years old and after 12 years' break from the sport, she is back in the top 50 and facing off with the best players.

I know her quite well - she's a very surprising person. I saw her in the evening after the match and she had been crying a lot. With all her experience, and after surpassing her goals - she told me in the summer she wasn't even setting any - she was still in tears. What a competitor!

The night session match between Kim Clijsters and Dinara Safina showed how cruel this sport can be. In front of the eyes of the world, the Russian, No.1 in the world not so long ago, was crushed 6-0 6-0. If some think the Belgian is cruel not to allow at least one game to go to Dinara, then the opposite is true: it was a mark of respect.

If sport is sometimes violent, the Belgian showed that she was taking her opponent seriously by never lowering the pressure. Many wonder how you can fall so far having reached the top, and it's a logical question; it's just more proof that this game is a mental one.

Dinara lacks matches and confidence: she's doubting, hesitating and doesn't believe in herself anymore after losing coach Zeljko Krajan.

The long-awaited fight between Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian also finally took place: 'The Revenge of the 2002 Wimbledon final'. And what a match! The Aussie fighting spirit was just as evident - it was a true thriller, with Nalbandian gaining that revenge late in the evening despite cramping up and saving two match points.


No one should miss the first test for Roger Federer in the night session against Gilles Simon who has just won in Sydney.

The Frenchman has played a lot recently and it may mean he is not fresh for the fight. Yet this confrontation may allow us to check on the progress of Roger, who looks in awesome shape.

The other big match will be Stanislas Wawrinka against 19-year-old Grigor Dimitrov.

While the Swiss is the clear favourite, this match could be a great battle between the two players with outstanding one-handed backhands - and allow viewers to discover the exciting Bulgarian for themselves.

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