Azarenka wins, Petrova and Errani out of Australian Open

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Vika Azarenka, world number 1 and top seed, came out for the second game on the Rod Laver Arena, to play Monica Niculescu of Romania, ranked at 49. Niculescu is difficult to play when she is on form, because of her very unconventional style, with incredible spins and good hands at the net. Azarenka came out in her usual demeanour and raced through the first set 6-1, but in the second set she lost the plot and her concentration completely, allowing the Romanian to go 3-0 up. The 1st seed managed to break back to 3-3 and then 4-4, before she broke Niculescu, who was playing some great tennis, to go 5-4 up and serve out for the set 6-4.

Sara Errani, the 7th seed in this year’s Australian Open, was first up on the Margaret Court Arena, to do battle with Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, ranked at number 33. Both short of stature but big on attitude when their games are on song, on Day 2 play it was the Spanish player whose tricky play managed to out manoeuvre her equally tricky opponent, by taking the first set 6-4 and then sticking to her guns to repeat the performance in the second set, to also take it 6-4 and wrap up a good win in an hour and a half.

Russia’s Nadia Petrova, the 12th seed, took on the Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, who is far and away the oldest player on the tour at 42 and who is ranked at 100. Petrova, twelve years her junior and playing in her 14th consecutive Australian Open main draw, had a great 2012 season, but the wily Japanese was just too good on Tuesday when she raced to a 4-0 lead and only allowed the Russian two games in all, taking the set 6-2, before racing through the second set to take it to love and the match in an hour and four minutes for yet another a major upset.

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